London, July 1: Frank Lampard has been excused from reporting back for pre-season training with Derby County as he continues to thrash out a deal with Chelsea.
Former Blues midfielder Lampard was given permission to speak to Chelsea last Tuesday (June 25) as the Premier League club seek a replacement for Maurizio Sarri, who has joined Juventus.
The 41-year-old took his first step into coaching with Derby in 2018-19 and came within one win of guiding the club to Premier League promotion as they lost to Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final.
Derby's players returned to pre-season training on Monday but Lampard was not there to oversee it.
A club statement read: "Derby County Football Club has excused Frank Lampard from reporting back for pre-season training on Monday and Tuesday to allow his discussions regarding a potential move to Chelsea to be concluded as soon as possible.
"The first few days of pre-season training will be focused on fitness training and will continue as planned under the guidance of the fitness, medical, conditioning and sports science teams at the club’s training centre.
"On the assumption that Frank will reach an agreement with Chelsea to become their new manager, the club shall step up its efforts to find a replacement manager."
Derby County has excused Frank Lampard from reporting back for pre-season training on Monday and Tuesday to allow his discussions regarding a potential move to Chelsea to be concluded as soon as possible.— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) July 1, 2019
Lampard spent 13 years as a Chelsea player, winning 11 major honours and scoring a club-record 211 goals, and has been consistently linked with the vacancy at his former club since it became clear Sarri was set to leave.
Former Napoli boss Sarri returned to Serie A to take charge of Juventus earlier this month after a single season in London, with Chelsea finishing third in the Premier League and winning the Europa League.
Should Lampard be handed the reins at Chelsea, he will be unable to bring in new players due to the transfer ban imposed on the club, and will have to cope with the departure of star winger Eden Hazard to Real Madrid.