Maurizio Sarri’s gone but Frank Lampard’s not yet here.
Of course, it’s been less than 48 hours since Sarri’s departure was made official, but Chelsea tend to be quite efficient at these transitions of power. We certainly have plenty of experience, and thusly, most new appointments are confirmed without too much wasted time.
We may have dragged out Conte’s end, but once he was gone, Sarri was announced quite quickly. Both Conte and Mourinho Mk.II were either officially or practically known well before the summer arrived. We might have to go all the way to back Andre Villas-Boas’s appointment in 2011 to find the last time we had been in any sort of extended limbo. We’re not quite there yet, and the transfer ban does make it so that we can probably take things at a more leisurely pace, but we shouldn’t dilly dally for too long. There are plans to draft and decisions to make!
First things first, the manager himself. Multiple sources on Monday, including the Evening Standard and ESPN were reporting that Chelsea will make the “official” approach this week, with the latter adding that a three-year deal is what’s on offer, and the former adding that Lampard prefers us over Derby at this point. That’s not surprising, but Derby owner Mel Morris has made it clear again that he will need proper compensation as well, which also isn’t surprising and has been understood for some time.
“There’s no change in the situation at present, except for the fact that Chelsea no longer have a manager. We have made it clear to everyone, but most importantly to Frank, that we want him and to retain his services for the long-term. If Chelsea want to hire Frank, then it is in their gift to make an offer in pursuit of that.
“In the meantime, we will continue to put our best foot forward to continue with our plans for the coming season, to work with Frank for him to know how much he is wanted by everyone associated with the club.”
-Mel Morris; source: talkSport via Football.London
Still, that all just seems like the usual bits of formality — especially as Derby have been increasingly linked with Lee Bowyer, who failed to agree a new contract with Charlton Athletic. Surely, it’s just a matter of time before these deals are ironed out and Lampard gets presented at Stamford Bridge for the second time in his life, almost exactly 18 years to the day after the first.
Any new managerial appointment carries with it a backroom reshuffle as well, and Matt Law brings us some details on that in the Telegraph.
Expected to arrive with Frank are assistants Jody Morris and Chris Jones, with the latter possibly going back to the fitness-focused role he left twelve months ago. Current fitness coach and Conte holdover Paolo Bertelli is expected to leave alongside all of Sarri’s staff, including Gianfranco Zola and possibly Carlo Cudicini as well. But the latter is “likely” to be asked to return to just the club ambassador role that he was in before Conte’s arrival in 2016.
Goalkeeper coach Massimo Nenci, who gets the full blame for the Kepa incident in Law’s report, is certainly not getting retained, but, thankfully, Hilario certainly is. Gotta have Hilario! He could be joined by Shay Given, who was Derby’s goalkeeper coach last year, though Christophe Lollichon is still with Chelsea and could be available to resume his long-time, pre-Courtois role.
Lampard could possibly insist on bringing his analyst, Steve Rands as well, which is to be expected.
More intriguingly, the report claims that Claude Makelele is indeed “set to return” as part of the loan army setup, the part of the operation that is currently led by former players Eddie Newton and Paulo Ferreira. Whether Makelele would be in addition to them or as a replacement is unclear.
Law’s report also puts youth coach Joe Edwards in line for a promotion to the first-team, which would be fitting with the usual pathways Chelsea have in place for youth coaches (better pathways than for youth players!).
Edwards spent the last two years in charge of the U23s, after two years in charge of the U18s (where he was succeeded by Jody Morris) and a year in between as loanee liaison. The two-year rotation is fairly standard in the Academy, and now Edwards is set to follow in the footsteps of Steve Clarke, Brendan Rodgers, Paul Clement, Steve Holland, Dermot Drummy (RIP), Adi Viveash, and Morris himself (who took a shortcut with Lampard) in making the step up to the first-team level. If Edwards moves up, others behind him undoubtedly will as well — and that’s almost all former Chelsea players in Andy Myers (U23 assistant), Ed Brand (U18 manager), and Jon Harley (U18 assistant), with others like Joe Cole and Tore Andre Flo are working at the younger age groups at the moment.
The amount of changes that are set to occur underline the need to get Lampard in (or whoever) sooner rather than later. Let the good vibes and the good times roll!
(Unlike down in Italy, where Sarri has an uphill battle to fight with neither Juventus nor Napoli fans entirely happy with his appointment.)