Frank Lampard has returned to the club where he played for 13 seasons after he was confirmed as Chelsea manager on Thursday. The club’s record goalscorer completed the final formalities at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening before being announced as Maurizio Sarri’s successor.
“I am immensely proud to be returning to Chelsea as head coach. Everyone knows my love for this club and the history we have shared, however, my sole focus is on the job in hand and preparing for the season ahead. I am here to work hard, bring further success to the club and I cannot wait to get started,” Lampard said.
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia added that, “It gives us great pleasure to welcome Frank back to Chelsea as head coach. Frank possesses fantastic knowledge and understanding of the club and last season, he demonstrated he is one of the most talented young coaches in the game.”
“After 13 years with us as a player, where he became a club legend and our record goalscorer, we believe this is the perfect time for him to return and are delighted he has done so. We will do everything we can to ensure he has all the support required to be a huge success.”
Lampard was pictured arriving back at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday to sign a three-year deal worth around £4m a season and to conduct interviews with in-house media before confirmation of his return was finalised. Derby County, whom Lampard took to the Championship play-off final in his solitary campaign in charge, are understood to have received in excess of £4m in compensation for their manager, who will be joined back in south-west London by his assistant, Jody Morris, and fitness coach, Chris Jones.
He faces no small task in returning Chelsea to the status of Premier League title contenders following Sarri’s departure to Juventus and Eden Hazard’s move to Real Madrid. His rebuilding efforts at Chelsea will also be hampered by a FIFA transfer ban.
Sarri, who departed after one season at Stamford Bridge, guided Chelsea to the Europa League title and third place in the Premier League but was never loved by Chelsea fans.
The former England midfielder played a key role in Chelsea’s golden era, making 648 appearances and scoring a club record 211 goals between 2001-2014. In that time, he won three Premier League titles as well as the Champions League.
Chelsea, however, have been handed a two-window transfer ban by world soccer’s governing body FIFA for breaching rules regarding the international transfer and registration of players under 18. The club appealed against the ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport last month.
The ban could force Lampard to put his trust in youngsters, a blueprint he developed at Derby where he blooded a number of Chelsea loanees. Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham were all involved in the playoff final at Wembley and they could all be back in west London next season.
With teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi having made the breakthrough under Sarri last season, Lampard may appear the ideal choice to construct a Chelsea side based on youth. Chelsea, who finished third in the league last season, kick off their 2019-20 campaign against Manchester United on August 11th.
Source : Various