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Frank Lampard returns to Chelsea: Transfers, style of football and expectations

Lampard confirmed as Maurizio Sarri's successor

Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard's managerial switch from Derby to Chelsea is the biggest story of the summer so far. Here, Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol answers the key questions as the Blues are reunited with their legendary player...

Maurizio Sarri left Chelsea on June 16, so what was the delay?

It's been a busy summer for Chelsea. They've had to go through the sale of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid and negotiate the terms of Maurizio Sarri's departure. The club wanted to ensure they were compensated by Juventus (they were, to the tune of £5m).

Chelsea also wanted to ensure they went through the right channels to get Lampard. They were aware of his £4m release clause and that the prospect of managing Chelsea would be very attractive to him.

On Monday, Derby announced Lampard had been excused from training on Monday and Tuesday to continue talks with Chelsea about the role. He was at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, too, as negotiations continued, before he was eventually unveiled at 9am on Thursday.

Why choose someone so inexperienced?

The transfer ban hanging over the club is the main reason Lampard was considered, coupled with a desire to avoid the kind of acrimony and infighting that overshadowed the tenures of Sarri and Antonio Conte.

Chelsea would normally have gone for someone like Massimiliano Allegri, a manager with a proven track record, but he would also have wanted to spend money on players and is also taking a year-long sabbatical.

 during the Carabao Cup Fourth Round match between Chelsea and Derby County at Stamford Bridge on October 31, 2018 in London, England.
Image: Lampard faced Chelsea in the Carabao Cup last season

Lampard knows the academy and along with Jody Morris, will work with the young players and loan players like Mason Mount, who was with Lampard at Derby.

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And for those questioning his youth, at 41 he is the same age Jose Mourinho was when he took the job and older than Glenn Hoddle, Gianluca Vialli and Ruud Gullit when they were appointed by Chelsea.

Who was behind the move for Lampard?

Marina Granovskaia runs the club on a day-to-day basis and will have been the driving force behind the appointment. The decision will have needed to be rubber-stamped by Roman Abramovich but he knows Lampard well from his playing days and trusts and respects him enough to give him the chance.

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What's expected of Lampard and how long will he be given?

Lampard is not expected to bring home the title due to the club's current transfer situation and the strength of Manchester City and Liverpool but he will be tasked with delivering a top-four finish and a run to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

However, if the season doesn't go according to plan Lampard is likely to be shown more patience than some of his predecessors as the club and the fans are aware that his appointment is an attempt to try something new.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was denied a UK visa extension in May 2018
Image: It is believed Lampard will be afforded time by owner Roman Abramovich

Lampard will be the first Englishman to manage Chelsea in the Champions League and the first Englishman to manage the club in 23 years.

How will the style of play change and how will the players react?

The team will likely line up the same way they did last season, in a 4-3-3 formation, but that's where the similarities end. Sarri's was a very rigid inflexible system which he just tried to impose upon the club. While this worked at a club like Napoli who had been starved of success, it wasn't popular at Chelsea.

While Sarri's system was more possession based, Lampard's 4-3-3 is more akin to the football played by Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, counter-attacking with a focus on winning the ball back quickly.

Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi during the Premier League match against West Ham
Image: Callum Hudson-Odoi could be handed more opportunities under Lampard

The players will love it as they are able to express themselves a lot more in this system. Derby's players enjoyed playing for Lampard, he's a great man manager and communicator.

His standing within the club and his playing career at the very top of the game will also ensure he has the immediate respect of every player in the dressing room.

What's the latest with Chelsea's transfer ban?

Chelsea were banned from signing players for two transfer windows after breaking FIFA rules over the signing of youth players.

The club appealed to FIFA but it was turned down. They subsequently appealed to CAS but crucially did not ask for a freeze on the ban while the appeal was being processed. The feeling within the club is that they would rather serve the ban as soon as possible rather than risk it being deferred to future transfer windows.

They were able to sign Mateo Kovacic, though, as he had been on loan at the club from Real Madrid and was still registered to Chelsea when they completed the £40m deal.

What about Chelsea's loan players - will some of them be involved?

Chelsea have 29 potential first-team players returning from loan this summer including defender Fikayo Tomori and midfielder Mason Mount who were with Lampard at Derby.

Other notables expected at pre-season training on Friday include Reece James who was Wigan's player of the year, Jake Clarke-Salter who is England's U21 captain, Tiemoure Bakayoko who's been at AC Milan, Tammy Abraham who played a big part in Aston Villa's return to the Premier League and Michy Batshuayi who impressed at Crystal Palace.

Mason Mount celebrates scoring for Derby against Norwich
Image: Mason Mount blossomed under Lampard at Derby

Chelsea also have Christian Pulisic - signed from Dortmund in January - coming in, but there appears to be no future at the club for Alvaro Morata, while Gonzalo Higuain has returned to Juventus.

Lampard's appointment may also have a bearing on the future of Callum Hudson-Odoi. The young forward's next move was the subject of much speculation last season, with Bayern Munich seeing multiple bids for him rejected, but the new manager is surely the ideal man to convince the 18-year-old to commit himself to Chelsea.

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