Frank Lampard has been seemingly nailed on as Chelsea's next manager for weeks now, and there was nothing except maybe Lampard's own inexperience that could change that.
Unless of course Chelsea don’t actually make a formal approach.
And that appears to be the case as of right now, with reports this morning filtering out about Derby County entering contract extension talks with Lampard. Here’s the Telegraph’s John Percy tweeting that out, although this doesn’t look to have made it into actual article-form yet, five hours later.
And the plot thickens, as they say.
As reported by Sky Sports, Derby “had always planned to discuss” fresh terms after the successful season that saw them come (once again) to within a game of making it back to the Premier League. And without a formal approach from Chelsea as yet, they are pushing forward with those original plans.
Talks are just talks — and they could be purely to ensure that Derby receive proper compensation — but Lampard is still expected to “find it impossible” to turn down Chelsea if and when a formal offer is made, though it does require a formal offer to actually be made. Obviously.
Previous reports indicated that Derby would “not stand in Lampard’s way” should he choose to leave.
It’s unclear what, if anything Chelsea are waiting for. Another report from the Telegraph, this time from Sam Wallace, guesses that Abramovich has not yet approved the approach for Lampard, thus the delay, though it does not seem to expect that to be anything other than a formality.
The Chelsea legend is still the overwhelming favorite to take over once Sarri’s departure is made official (which may or may not depend on Chelsea formalizing his successor).
And so we wait, as always.