Date published: Monday 17th June 2019 8:00
Frank Lampard is the overwhelming favourite to take over as Chelsea manager after Maurizio Sarri’s much-anticipated move to Juventus was confirmed on Sunday.
The Blues’ record goalscorer, tipped for a return to Stamford Bridge with increasing force amid Sarri speculation in recent days, was rated at 25/1 on for the job overnight.
With former Chelsea bosses Rafael Benitez and Jose Mourinho, at around 9/1 and 16/1 respectively, being the next options, the 40-year-old appeared to be the only name in the frame.
Lampard, who scored 211 goals for the Londoners in a glittering spell from 2001 to 2014 that included three Premier League titles and a Champions League win, is currently manager at Championship Derby.
After just one year in the post, his experience is limited but he impressed by guiding the Rams to the play-off final and close to promotion last season.
It would be a bold appointment by the club and a big step for Lampard but it would be a hugely popular move with supporters.
Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin told Sky Sports News: “We know Frank is very intelligent and knows the game. He’s done OK so far at Derby but it’s much, much different at Chelsea because the expectations are much higher.
“I’d be stunned if he turned it down if it was offered. Big jobs don’t come around that often.
“Then again, actually it’s Chelsea – so it’ll probably come around very quickly!”
Sarri’s successor will be the 14th different manager employed at Chelsea since owner Roman Abramovich took over in 2003.
The 60-year-old Italian was in the position for just one year after succeeding countryman Antonio Conte last summer. He guided the team to Europa League success, third place in the Premier League and the Carabao Cup final.
But the former investment banker failed to win over all Chelsea fans, with frustration at his regimented tactics and an apparent reluctance to play homegrown talents Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Form was also inconsistent at times and, with Sarri hankering after a return to Italy, the club decided not to stand in his way when Juventus expressed interest. A compensation package understood to be in excess of £5million was agreed with the Serie A champions.
Nevin, however, felt it was a shame Sarri’s spell had ended.
He said: “It’s no surprise he’s gone but I’m very disappointed he’s gone. I could see what he was trying to do. I liked the way he was trying to build. It takes a while.”
In a statement confirming his departure, Chelsea added a message to congratulate Sarri “on securing the role as big as any in Serie A and to wish him the best of luck for the future”.
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