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June 26, 2019

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Derby frees Lampard to conclude Chelsea return

Derby will allow Frank Lampard to hold talks with Chelsea about returning to coach the English Premier League club.

Lampard led Derby County to the promotion playoff final in his first season as coach but his team lost to Aston Villa.

“With preseason fast approaching for both clubs it is hoped this will allow Chelsea to swiftly conclude their discussions,” Derby said yesterday.

Lampard is Chelsea’s record scorer with 211 goals and he won three EPL titles while at Stamford Bridge from 2001-14. He spent brief periods with Manchester City and New York City FC before retiring in 2016.

The Chelsea job has been vacant since Maurizio Sarri left for Italian champion Juventus this month, shortly after winning the Europa League title to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League.

The last former Chelsea player to take over as coach was Roberto di Matteo, who won the UCL and FA Cup in 2012 with Lampard in his squad. He was fired after only eight months in charge.

Whoever takes over as Chelsea manager will likely have to contend with a two-window transfer ban from FIFA. Chelsea has appealed that punishment to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

And its best player of recent times has departed after Eden Hazard completed a 100-million-euro (US$114 million) move to Real Madrid.

If the ban is upheld, it could force Chelsea to give more opportunities to younger players like defender Fikayo Tomori and midfielder Mason Mount, who spent last season on loan at Derby under Lampard.

Meanwhile, Vincent Kompany began his managerial career at Anderlecht yesterday by saying he was no Pep Guardiola but the Belgian club can expect a student of the game who has learnt a lot.

The Belgium central defender held his first news conference on his second day in the job, having ended his stellar career at City to return to his first club as player-coach.

The 33-year-old will certainly bring with him much of the wisdom he acquired in the EPL under Guardiola.

“It was like being at university every day. He explained everything with such clarity and I learnt an enormous amount from him,” Kompany told reporters.

“I am no Guardiola by any means, let me make that clear. But I think I was a good student.”

Kompany will be seeking to take Anderlecht back to its dominant role in Belgian football after a season in which it was well behind the frontrunners. “I understand that there is a lot of work, but I’m really looking forward to starting. I have the chance to make my mark here and I’m proud that I have that opportunity.”

Kompany, who told Guardiola he was leaving City the day before May’s 6-0 FA Cup final win over Watford, said he had been lured back to Anderlecht after talks with the club’s owner Marc Coucke and sporting director Frank Arnesen.

He won four EPL titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups with City, having played 360 matches in all competitions and scored 20 goals.

“The idea of becoming a player-manager has grown gradually, by talking to Coucke, Arnesen and (board member Michael) Verschueren.

“The chance was too big for me to turn down and I think it was the right time to make this decision. Returning as a player only was not an option.”


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