Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has given his personal assurances that Frank Lampard “will be allowed at least two seasons to prove his worth” — or at least two (actual, non-transfer banned) transfer windows — once he officially takes over from Maurizio Sarri, which looks to be happening imminently.
That’s the big story from Duncan Castles, writing for the Sunday Times, who tells a story of Abramovich phoning up his former superstar and securing his agreement, which matches earlier reports of the owner getting personally involved in this latest managerial reshuffle. While the deal is not done yet — Sarri’s departure is technically still not official while Derby are making one final push (both personal and in terms of compensation) — all signs point it being done very soon as Lampard “seems unlikely” to turn down Chelsea.
Should Lampard become the new Chelsea boss, he’ll be expected to bring back the two coaches he plucked from Chelsea last summer as well, assistant manager Jody Morris and first-team coach Chris Jones, while Derby goalkeeper coach Shay Given is apparently also expected to come along. Castles is the latest to report that a coaching role has been offered to Didier Drogba, but he plays down the idea of John Terry returning anytime soon in any capacity.
The idea of a two-season guarantee is quite bold, but it does play into Chelsea accepting the transfer ban from FIFA and not applying to freeze it during the CAS appeal, making the upcoming season essentially a hopeful write-off, and giving the chance to some of the academy’s and loan army’s brightest starts to shine. Lampard was more than happy to rely on youth at Derby, and he’ll be expected to do so at Chelsea as well. The report names Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount alongside the usual duo of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi as the expected future cornerstones of the Lampard Era.
All that sounds pretty good, if a bit too good and a bit too idealistic. This might work as a challenge on Football Manager, but the real world has a habit of teaching very harsh lessons and very quickly. Long-term plans are often ripped up and thrown away, especially at Chelsea. Of course, no managerial appointment is without risk. Almost all of them get sacked eventually. But surely everyone involved knows all that already, and will be under no illusions to the contrary.