Derby County manager Frank Lampard has been identified as a possible replacement for Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea, according to Sky Sports.
Zinedine Zidane is also understood to be included on the list of potential replacements.
It’s certainly a distraction the Rams could do without ahead of the Championship run-in. Lampard has done a steady job at Pride Park so far. Derby are currently sat two points off the play-offs ahead of their game against Millwall tonight.
Once they get tonight’s game out of the way, Lampard’s attention will turn to a crucial East Midlands Derby against Nottingham Forest on Monday. Martin O’Neill will hope that this recent speculation has a negative impact on the Rams.
In this case, this isn’t the first time that this situation has arisen at Pride Park. However, if Chelsea are interested in Lampard, he’s unlikely to make a return to Stamford Bridge until the end of the season.
Sky Sports understand that the Blues are considering appointing assistant manager Gianfranco Zola as caretaker boss until the end of the season. This doesn’t mean that the speculation won’t become an unwelcome distraction though.
Could Lampard follow in Rowett and McClaren’s footsteps?
Lampard was only appointed by the Rams in May last year. This came after Gary Rowett controversially left the club to join Stoke City. Rowett guided Derby to the Championship play-offs in his first full season, but jumped ship when the Potters came calling just a week later.
It’s fair to say that Derby supporters weren’t too impressed with his decision. This isn’t the first time that a Derby manager has been attracted by a job elsewhere though. Steve McClaren was linked with Newcastle United during his first spell at Pride Park.
The 55-year-old was sacked at the end of the 2014/15 campaign after failing to secure a place in the play-offs. This was mainly due to a monumental late-season collapse following the reports linking him with Newcastle.
On his return to the club, McClaren admitted this situation was his own doing. He told the Newcastle Chronicle: “My mistake was not quashing that [the Newcastle speculation and rumour], not dampening that, and not committing. That is my fault and I apologise for that.
“By the time I had committed to the club [Derby], the club had every right to sack me, and they did. I could have no qualms about it.”
Will Lampard stick with the Rams?
It remains to be seen whether Lampard sticks with the Rams beyond the end of the season. At this stage, it seems unnecessary for him to quash any of the speculation. He will be fully focussed on Derby’s next two games against Millwall and the Reds.
However, a number of Derby supporters have expressed their concerns over the speculation on social media. Seat Pitch has rounded up exactly what they had to say.
If Lampard goes he will be worse than rowett but I doubt it as he has grown a strong relationship with the fans and to throw that away to go to Chelsea 🐍
Lampard needs to put these rumours to bed it happens every yr speculation of our managers moving and it ruins our season ⚪️⚫️
— Alex Allen (@AlexAllenDCFC) February 20, 2019
As much as I’ve been saying I don’t think Lampard will leave so early I’m actually starting to think that if there’s no money to spend in the summer then I think he will walk if Chelsea come sniffing. #dcfc #dcfcfans
— LWTS📣 (@LiamWTSterling) February 20, 2019
Chelsea are not going to appoint Frank Lampard, with less than a year of managerial experience. Pass it on… #DCFC
— StuartF (@sjforsyth) February 19, 2019
If Lampard leaves us for Chelsea I may have a breakdown. I’m still not over the whole Rowett scandal. #DCFC 🐏
— JG (@_Gatesss) February 19, 2019
I feel sorry for Mel. Backs mcclaren, sods off to Newcastle. Backs Rowett sods off to Stoke, backs Lampard.. Potentially sodding off to Chelsea. Wouldn’t surprise me if he sold up. Bet he’s disheartened with football.
— Joe (@_JoeDCFC) February 19, 2019
Let it all start again! Lampard to Chelsea in the summer! Too soon IMO, but I can see it happening! #dcfc
— Andy Buckley-Taylor (@BuckTaylor64) February 19, 2019