Frank Lampard is ready to complete a shock reunion with Chelsea, returning to Stamford Bridge as interim manager until the end of the season.
The PA news agency understands Lampard has held talks with the club and is preparing to return to his old stomping ground in a temporary capacity following the sacking of Graham Potter at the weekend.
Lampard’s original 18-month spell in the Blues’ dugout ended with his own dismissal in January 2021, but he now has the chance to pick up where he left off and give Chelsea time to identify the right long-term successor.
PA understands that one potential front-runner, ex-Spain coach Luis Enrique, flew into London on Wednesday to meet with club officials as the hunt for a permanent appointment began in earnest.
The in-demand Julian Nagelsmann, sacked recently by Bayern Munich, is also thought to be a contender but his availability comes with possible contractual complications.
Lampard is available after being sacked by Everton in January, ending a disappointing reign, and was in the stands to witness Chelsea’s goalless draw against Liverpool on Tuesday in what now seems a telling appearance.
Lampard’s cousin Jamie Redknapp was in the Sky Sports studio as news broke and he gave a big thumbs up to the idea, suggesting it could work well for both parties.
The former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder even suggested that steering the Blues to Champions League glory, replicating the achievement of Lampard’s old team-mate Roberto Di Matteo in 2012, was possible.
“He loves the club, nobody cares about the club or knows it better than he does,” Redknapp said.
“This is a complete no-brainer if Chelsea were to go for him and Frank takes the job. It would be brilliant for him. This might make sense for the owners, just to give themselves a bit of breathing space.
“Frank will look at this if he takes the job and think what an opportunity it is for him. They’ve got a Champions League game (quarter-final) to come against Real Madrid and people say it’s almost impossible. Roberto Di Matteo did it, won it as interim manager, stranger things have happened in football.”
News of Lampard’s return comes after coach Bruno Saltor, who took temporary charge against Liverpool, said Chelsea’s co-sporting directors have met with the players to explain the club’s strategy in their search for a new manager.
Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart addressed the squad at the team’s Cobham training base on Monday to brief them on the circumstances surrounding Potter’s removal and plans for the immediate future.
“They (Winstanley and Stewart) are trying to describe the situation, trying to be supportive with the players,” said Saltor.
“It’s not an easy situation for anyone. What we need to do is just be together, communicate well. That’s what they tried.”