The Derby County boss is the favourite to replace Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge, he remains the hot favourite to become the next Chelsea manager.
The Derby County boss is the clear front-runner to replace Maurizio Sarri at the Stamford Bridge helm. Sarri has left to join Juventus, apparently clearing the way for Lampard to make an emotional return to the Blues.
He spent 13 years there as a player, in which time he won an array of trophies, including the Champions League. The 40-year-old is also the club’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Lampard has been cutting his managerial teeth with Derby, guiding them to the Sky Bet Championship play-off final in his first season. He has previously confirmed his desire to manage Chelsea one day.
In October 2016, shortly before he announced his retirement from playing, Lampard spoke about his ambitions in an interview with Sky Sports football programme Soccer AM.
Asked if he would like to return to Chelsea as a manager at some point, he said: “Yeah – only if I was good enough and it was right, and they wanted me, and it was the right time.
“Listen, I’m a Chelsea man but Chelsea man or not, Chelsea is one of the pinnacle jobs in football.
“I don’t want to throw myself out there as the next Chelsea boss, because it might be a different route for me. It might take me a while to get there, or something like that.
“But of course, the dream would be to manage Chelsea one day, yes.”
Lampard went on to get his first job in management at Derby last summer.
It did not take long before he started to be linked with the Chelsea job.
In February, with Sarri’s future in doubt after a 6-0 hammering by Manchester City, Lampard was installed as the bookies’ favourite to succeed the Italian.
“It (Chelsea) is certainly a club I respect, and (Sarri) a manager I respect, so it wouldn’t make me smile or anything different because my job is here, and I am working very hard.
“I follow Chelsea, I have huge respect for them and I hope to see them put some form together and turn results around.”
Lampard was asked about the link again at a Rams fans’ forum in March.
“I can’t do much (about it),” he replied. “Having played for Chelsea for 13 years, and the link I have with them will go on forever, it possibly means if Chelsea have their moments, which we all know they have had there, then I am an easy link. So was Zidane before he took the Real Madrid job.
“Does it affect me? Absolutely not because I have a three-year contract here. I am planning for pre-season, I am planning recruitment in the summer, and planning before that getting promoted, if we can.
“In terms of the players. My opinion is it absolutely affects nothing because it doesn’t change anything in the way I work.
“It is bits of rumour here and there, it affects nothing.
“It doesn’t affect the players at all.
“If it does, they are wrong because they should be worrying about themselves first, how they affect the team, how they train and how they play.
“I can tell you my pure focus is on the club and doing what I can do here.”
Lampard also played down the growing Chelsea speculation immediately after Derby’s play-off final defeat to Aston Villa at Wembley at the end of May.
“This is my club,” he said. “I am the manager of this club with a two-year contract, so that is my only thought.
“The conversations I will be having this week will be to see how we can compete again in the Championship next year.
“I am manager of this club and I am very proud to be manager of this club.
“I have loved working here and I want to continue that and I want to continue progressing with the club.
“I have to say after my first year in football and the opportunity this club gave me, it is massively important that everyone understands that and that’s my overriding feeling. So that’s where I am.
“I will have a couple of beers with all of the lads, and the staff, and everybody that has worked so hard this year and then afterwards we’ll talk about where we go forward.”
Of course, things have moved on since then, with Chelsea now beginning their search for a new manager in earnest.