Derby owner Mel Morris has stressed the club want to keep Frank Lampard as manager “for the long term” amid reported interest from Chelsea.
Lampard, who turns 41 on June 20, enjoyed a hugely successful spell as a player for the Blues, becoming the club’s record goalscorer and winning three Premier League titles as well as the Champions League.
Morris, though, maintained the Championship club, who missed out on promotion when they were beaten by Aston Villa in the play-off final at Wembley last month, are determined to hold onto Lampard’s services.
“There’s no change in the situation at present, except for the fact that Chelsea no longer have a manager,” Morris told Sky Sports.
“We have made it clear to everyone, but most importantly to Frank, that we want him and to retain his services for the long term.
“If Chelsea want to hire Frank, then it is in their gift to make an offer in pursuit of that.
“In the meantime, we will continue to put our best foot forward to continue with our plans for the coming season, to work with Frank for him to know how much he is wanted by everyone associated with the club.”
Lampard is reported to have already told Derby he would be interested in talking to Chelsea if an approach was made. Both clubs have been contacted for comment by Press Association Sport.
The former England midfielder remains the overwhelming favourite to take over at Stamford Bridge.
Moving for such a rookie coach would be a bold appointment by Chelsea and a big step for Lampard, but it would be a hugely popular move with supporters.
Former Chelsea bosses Rafael Benitez and Jose Mourinho have also been touted as potential replacements for Sarri, who guided the London club to Europa League success last season.
Harry Redknapp, though, suggested it appeared only a matter of time before his nephew returned to Stamford Bridge.
“I think it would be a major surprise if he doesn’t get the job. It looks to me as though it will happen,” Redknapp said on talkSPORT’s Sports Breakfast.
“It would be brilliant for him. A shame for Derby as Mel Morris gave him the opportunity there and he’s done a great job. But it’s a great move; he’s absolutely idolised at Chelsea – a genuine legend there.
“He knows the game, he knows what it’s about, he’s got a touch of class… it will be great.”
Sarri’s successor will be the 14th different manager employed at Chelsea since owner Roman Abramovich took over in 2003.
The 60-year-old Italian was in the position for just one year after succeeding compatriot Antonio Conte last summer. He guided the team to Europa League success, third place in the Premier League and the Carabao Cup final.
But the former investment banker failed to win over all Chelsea fans, with frustration at his regimented tactics and an apparent reluctance to play homegrown talents Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Form was also inconsistent at times and, with Sarri hankering after a return to Italy, the club decided not to stand in his way when Juventus expressed an interest. A compensation package understood to be in excess of £5million was agreed with the Serie A champions.