Derby County owner Mel Morris has insisted that they will push on with their plan to build a future around Frank Lampard, as they await a formal approach from Chelsea.
With former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri leaving to join Juventus, Lampard is the heavy favourite to take over. Derby have offered the 40-year-old a new contract as they are yet to have any formal contact with the Blues.
“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.
“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.”
Morris' statement comes after The Times published a report stating that Chelsea will now accelerate their plans to appoint Lampard, after confirmation that Sarri was heading back to Italy.
Chelsea's primary motives are thought to include bringing a feel-good factor back to the club, as well as general improving the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge. The anticipated appointment of Petr Cech in an advisory role would complement this theory, and signify a change in approach in west London.
Lampard's first season credentials with Derby are there for all to see, having guided the Rams to the Championship play-off final whilst playing an eye-catching brand of football, as well as reducing the club's wage bill.
These qualities have also attracted Chelsea, who are eager to bring back one of their most iconic players to help them through their two-window transfer ban.
'That is genius!' — Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) June 11, 2019
One from the archives, and it's a beauty courtesy of Frank Lampard! pic.twitter.com/FuPGhEXDNl
It is thought that Derby could demand around £4m in compensation from the Blues, who would likely have no problem meeting Derby's demands after negotiating their own compensation from Sarri's departure to Juventus.
An approach from the blues is expected in the immediate future, although Morris' recent words suggest Derby are not prepared to let Lampard go easily.