Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images

Derby owner: ‘Frank and Chelsea need to have time’

Leave a comment

Derby County owner Mel Morris says the club has begun the search for a new manager under the assumption that Chelsea will reach an arrangement with current boss Frank Lampard, who it has excused from preseason training camp.

The Chelsea legend was instantly linked with the club opening when Maurizio Sarri left Stamford Bridge to begin life at Juventus.

[ MORE: 3 things from USMNT’s win ]

Morris told TalkSport.com that he figured Lampard’s time at Chelsea would be a short one, just not a single year.

“As we’ve said before, when Frank and I first met we discussed this very eventuality, the only difference is the timing of this,” Morris said. “My belief at this point in time is that Frank and Chelsea need to have the time to finalise the transaction between them.”

Morris has been frustrated with Chelsea’s hiring process, though he’s a little calmer now as the situation has become clearer.

“You could say they’ve had plenty of time, but in fairness Frank was away on vacation – and a well-deserved one after a pretty tough season – and he didn’t come back until Friday, so I think that has been a big factor.”

Chelsea’s love for Lampard and its understanding regarding the club’s transfer ban will give it an extra level of patience for the young manager, but the club’s usual lack of patience with management is notable.

Lampard will not have Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi on long-term injuries, and Eden Hazard has left the club. Christian Pulisic returns from loan while Mateo Kovacic‘s loan was made permanent.

Derby County confirms Chelsea approach for Frank Lampard

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Derby County has confirmed that Chelsea has been given permission to speak with Frank Lampard about their open managerial position.

The club did not elaborate on specifics of the potential transaction, but according to reports, Chelsea would likely have to pay Derby County around $5 million to buy out Lampard’s current contract.

:With pre-season fast approaching for both clubs it is hoped this will allow Chelsea to swiftly conclude their discussions,” Derby County wrote in their short official statement. “The club will make no further comment until it is appropriate to do so.”

Lampard has just one season of managerial experience under his belt, leading Derby County to the Championship playoff final before falling to Aston Villa and narrowly missing out on promotion.

As a player, Lampard spent 13 seasons at Stamford Bridge, arriving from West Ham in 2001 and remaining through 2013 before his departure to Manchester City. Lampard racked up 423 appearances for the Blues, scoring 147 goals and leading the club to three Premier League titles plus the 2012 Champions League title.

The 41-year-old is looking close to replacing Maurizio Sarri who officially departed just days ago to return to his home country and take charge of Juventus. Sarri spent just one season at Chelsea and led them to a third place finish in the Premier League table plus the Europa League title which they won over fellow Premier League side Arsenal.

Lampard will face plenty of challenges out of the gates should he take the position. Chelsea will be facing a transfer ban this summer after the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, a hard truth that will hamper his ability to boost the squad before his first season in charge. Lampard will also need to sort out the Chelsea midfield, which Sarri leaves in somewhat disarray after having moved N’Golo Kante from his defensive midfield position and instilled Jorginho in that spot to mixed results last season. Finally, Chelsea needs to sort out its striker position, with Gonzalo Higuain struggling mightily since joining in January, and while Olivier Giroud looked prolific in Europa League play, he is still staring down his 33rd birthday and has not been able to gain a stranglehold over the starting spot in league play.

Report: Derby has Chelsea asking price for Lampard

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The BBC claims that Chelsea is yet to contact Derby County regarding the managerial services of Frank Lampard.

But that doesn’t mean the Rams don’t have an asking price for the Blues legend.

[ MORE: U.S. falls in FIFA rankings ]

Chelsea would need to pay Derby around $5 million to hire Lampard as the replacement for Maurizio Sarri.

That shouldn’t be too much of a problem, as Juventus is reportedly going to pay more than $1 million more than that to bring Sarri back to Italy.

This is the second-straight summer of managerial transfer fees for Chelsea after the Blues eventually worked out compensation that brought midfielder Jorginho and manager Sarri from Naples to London.

Is Lampard ready for the big time? He had a fine first season at Derby County, but that pales in comparison to working for Roman Abramovich during a season without transfer buys. We wonder if Abramovich will remember the financial handcuffs the first time Chelsea hits a rough patch.

Aston Villa wins Premier League promotion

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • Villa back in Premier League for first time since 2015-16
  • El Ghazi involved in both Villa goals
  • Marriott strikes late for Frank Lampard‘s Rams

Prince William and Jimmy Dugan — er, Tom Hanks — rejoice: Your club is back in the top flight.

Anwar El Ghazi was the star of the show as Aston Villa clinched Premier League promotion with a 2-1 defeat of Derby County in the Championship Playoff Final at Wembley Stadium on Monday.

Al-Ghazi scored and helped produce John McGinn’s insurance goal, and Derby’s Jack Marriott got a deserved goal late to close the gap.

[ MORE: Spurs “so positive” on Kane health ]

Villa got its first half goal from Al-Ghazi when he stooped to head a Mohamed Elmohamady cross into the goal.

And it was Al-Ghazi’s drive and shot from distance which was blocked into the air. Rams goalkeeper Kelle Roos timed his leap poorly in reaction, allowing McGinn to fire in front to head the ball out of his hands and into the goal.

At that point it felt like more of the same, as Villa beat Derby 4-0 and 3-0 during the season.

Derby picked up its intensity later, and Marriott turned and hit a pretty strike that skittered just wide of the far post. He’d later bundle a ball over the line to set up a grandstand finish.

Derby sued by Middlesbrough over alleged financial transgressions

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Middlesbrough has opened legal proceedings against playoff finalists Derby County over what they allege to be a breach in the Football League’s financial rules.

Boro owner Steve Gibson is taking action over what he believes to be Derby County’s intentional circumvention of financial sustainability regulations by posting an $18.6 million profit last season despite Derby owner Mel Morris selling the club’s ground Pride Park and then leasing it back.

Derby, however, has maintained its innocence, with the club even providing a written offer to all other clubs to review their books, an offer which Derby alleges Middlesbrough declined to take advantage of. “Middlesbrough were offered by us in writing to come with their advisors to go through our submissions for profitability and sustainability, [but] they declined.”

Gibson also attempted to force Derby to submit their financials to an independent inquiry, but all other Championship clubs voted it down. The Middlesbrough owner went after Aston Villa in late April, with Tony Pulis confirming the owner is “not happy” over “rules being broken.” Gibson attempted the same maneuver, hoping to force Villa to submit to an independent financial inquiry, but the other Championship clubs also turned that motion down.

Reports of Morris’s financial troubles with the club came to a head around that time in March when a report suggested Morris wanted out of the club, looking for a buyer after suffering losses of nearly $3.8 million per month as Derby owner. At that point Derby sat seventh in the Championship table and fell to ninth by the end of the month. Now, having recovered to earn a playoff position at the death, they now sit in the playoff final, set to play Aston Villa on Sunday for a spot in the Premier League.