Derby County owner Mel Morris is ‘hopeful’ Frank Lampard will still be in the Pride Park dugout next season despite a recent club statement.
Lampard has been heavily linked with the vacant managerial position at Chelsea, and earlier this week Derby County gave his former club the green light to hold discussions with the ex-England international.
Could Lampard join Chelsea? Five things to know…
- Chelsea and Maurizio Sarri parted ways earlier this month.
- The Blues are currently serving out a two-window transfer embargo, making the vacant position less desirable for elite level coaches.
- Lampard has been linked with the role despite entering football management just over a year ago.
- Derby recently issued a statement confirming they have granted Chelsea permission to negotiate with Lampard.
- But Mel Morris has now suggested Lampard’s proposed Chelsea appointment is “not a done deal”.
Lampard took the reins in Derbyshire last summer and masterminded a Championship play-off final appearance in his maiden campaign, where his side ultimately lost out to Aston Villa.
Despite being in football management for only one season, Chelsea appear eager to appoint their record goalscorer after Maurizio Sarri left for Juventus, but club owner Morris has now cooled speculation of an imminent installation.
Speaking to talkSPORT, he said: “When Frank met me for the first time, we talked about this opportunity and even then we knew at some stage this was going to happen [him being offered the Chelsea job], we just didn’t know when.
“So we talked about that and we both probably thought it would be some way off and, let’s face it, right now it’s still not a done deal.
“Let’s be blunt, as far as I’m concerned I’m hoping this guy is going to manage us next season. I’m not giving up hope on that at the moment.”
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Morris accepts the ‘inevitable’
Morris may be ‘hopeful’ that Lampard will remain in the Derby County hotseat for the immediate future, but he went on to concede that at some stage down the line, the 41-year-old will almost certainly return to Stamford Bridge.
He added: “But you’d have to say at some point it will happen – whether it’s now or some point in the future. Would I have stood in his way more if was any other club?
“I think I probably would have been more critical about, ‘why make this move’?
“Let’s say it was a low-half Premier League coming along, I would have said: ‘Listen, another season with us and maybe we’ll be there, maybe two seasons, whatever it takes. Building something is worth doing’.
“But this is one of the top jobs in football and we have to respect that.
“It’s a huge decision for Chelsea – any manager decision is, it was for us last year but I’ve got no regrets, however this works out.”