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Football | Will Chelsea's risk reap rewards?

Derby County have given Chelsea permission to speak to Frank Lampard.

Lampard - who spent 13 years at Chelsea as a player - looks set to replace the departing Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge.

The 41-year-old won 11 trophies at the London club, scoring 211 goals in 648 appearances and remains the club's all-time record goalscorer.

Lampard took up his first managerial role with Derby last summer, and Chelsea will now reportedly have to pay the Rams £4 million to release Lampard from his contract.

Incredibly, after just 57 games under his belt as a manager, Lampard is on the brink of managing one of England's biggest clubs.

The former Chelsea midfielder will reportedly be offered a three-year contract, and is set to become the first Englishman to manage Chelsea since Glenn Hoddle in 1993.

Jody Morris is likely to follow Lampard from Derby to stay on as assistant manager, and Petr Cech has already returned to the club as a technical and performance advisor.

Lampard appointment is likely to be a popular one with Chelsea fans, but is it the right decision?

Perfect timing?

Lampard's appointment is a huge risk, but it's also a huge opportunity for both club and manager.

With the club currently operating under a two-window transfer ban, this could be the perfect time to experiment with a new approach.

Is Lampard the right man to take the club forward?

His record at Derby is an interesting one.

The Rams finished sixth under Gary Rowett the season before Lampard's arrival, with Rowett's side amassing a point more than Lampard's team.

However, Lampard's team reached the Championship play-off final, where they were beaten by Aston Villa.

Perhaps surprisingly, Rowett's win percentage was also slightly higher than Lampard's.

But the stats don't tell the full story.

After a difficult start to the season, Lampard's Derby were very impressive.

The former West Ham midfielder placed his faith in youth, and his decision to bring in the likes of Harry Wilson and Mason Mount on loan proved to be shrewd.

18-year-old Jayden Bogle and 21-year-old Fikayo Tomori also became key players for the Rams.

Lampard's team played attacking, attractive football, and beat Leeds in thrilling fashion in the play-off semi-finals. Chelsea fans will be excited at the prospect of entertaining football after a year of the unpopular 'Sarri-ball'.

The Romford native will now have the chance to work with midfielder Mount - and defender Tomori - again if he is appointed at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea boast a wealth of young talent, with Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Reece James and Tammy Abraham all on the books at the club.

Christian Pulisic is also arriving from Borussia Dortmund, another young player with huge potential.

Abraham has already claimed there would be "no better guy to play under" than Lampard.

Lampard could be the perfect candidate to integrate these players into the first team on a regular basis, and these players will be excited to work with the legendary midfielder in the knowledge that he will be willing to give them a chance.

Given Chelsea's transfer ban, getting the most out of the players already at the club will be crucial.

How many top managers would take a job knowing they won't be allowed to make any signings?

The club have often been criticized for not giving youth a chance, but Lampard is likely to deviate from that path.

He will have the full backing of the fans, but will he have the full backing of the club?

Ruthless Roman

Roman Abramovich is not known for his romanticism.

The Chelsea owner has been ruthless in the pursuit of success; there have been 13 managerial changes in his 16-year tenure.

Abramovich has generally opted for proven managers who have won (or at least competed) for top honours, and demands instant success.

No individual manager has been able to build a lasting project at Chelsea.

The club have chopped and changed managers frequently, though it could be argued that this unconventional approach has yielded plenty of trophies.

Managers such as Jose Mourinho, Luis Felipe Scolari, Carlo Ancelotti, and Antonio Conte all arrived at Stamford Bridge with a history of winning trophies.

Mourinho had won the Champions League with Porto, Scolari was a World Cup winning manager, and both Ancelotti and Conte had enjoyed huge success in Italy, with the former also winning a Champions League with AC Milan.

Guus Hiddink and Rafa Benitez weren't exactly unknown entities either.

Despite all the uncertainty over his future, Sarri remains one of the few Abramovich-era managers to leave Chelsea on his own terms.

Mourinho, the club's most successful manager in the Premier League era, has been sacked twice.

Ancelotti won the double in spectacular style in his debut campaign, but was shown the exit after finishing his second season without a trophy.

Conte won the Premier League in his first season and the FA Cup in his second, but was relieved of his duties after two years.

Admittedly, Abramovich's friend Avram Grant did not fit this criteria, but the Israeli manager was sacked after a single season despite finishing second and losing the Champions League final on penalties.

Roberto Di Matteo was also given an opportunity, but it would have been difficult not to appoint the Italian after he guided Chelsea to their maiden Champions League title. However, the former Chelsea midfielder was dismissed after half a season.

Sarri was also somewhat less proven, having never won a major honour as a manager, but had built a strong reputation at Napoli.

He has swapped London for Turin after just one year having guided Chelsea to the Europa League title, a League Cup final,and a third-place finish in the Premier League.

André Villas-Boas was another young manager who arrived at Stamford Bridge with a big reputation. He was intent on freshening things up and taking the club in a new direction, but the Portugal native was chewed up and spit out by Chelsea.

Despite all the uncertainty over his future, Sarri remains one of the few Abramovich-era managers to leave Chelsea on his own terms.

History suggests that this is as risky a move for Lampard as it is for his former employers.

As it stands, Chelsea are quite a way off the top two, and Lampard won't be able to add to the squad for 12 months.

To make things worse, Chelsea have just sold their best player to Real Madrid.

They also have a somewhat tricky start to the 2019/20 Premier League season on paper.

They will begin the season with a trip to Old Trafford to face old foes Manchester United, and will also face Liverpool (home), Leicester (home) and Wolves (away) in their opening six matches.

Will Lampard be afforded time to build a project and implement his philosophies?

If not, he runs the risk of being discarded by his former club and left to rebuild his managerial career.

Potential rewards outweigh risks

Chelsea have won 16 major trophies in as many years under Abramovich.

Their model has been successful, but it has been unconventional to put it mildly.

Lampard's appointment would herald a move in a different direction for Chelsea, but these are different times.

The club's riches are almost irrelevant given the current transfer ban, meaning Chelsea need to do things in an alternative way.

The work being done by Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs illustrates the benefits of putting faith and patience into one manager over a number of years.

Spurs operated under a self-imposed transfer ban last season, but finished fourth and reached the Champions League final.

Lampard's job won't be easy.

Eden Hazard is gone, and Manchester City and Liverpool were streets ahead of the following pack last season.

Chelsea will have to compete with City, Liverpool, Spurs, United, and Arsenal for a place in the top four.

However, there will be less pressure on Lampard with a ban in place, and Abramovich is likely to be more patient with the 41-year-old as a result of the restrictions in place.

These are exciting times for Lampard and Chelsea, and the pros outweigh the cons.

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