Stamford Bridge has welcomed back one of its favorite sons.
Chelsea unveiled their all-time top goalscorer, Frank Lampard, as the club’s new manager on Thursday. He will be assisted by Jody Morris, another former Blues player, in west London.
Lampard just concluded his first season in management with second-tier Derby County in May and his three-year contract with the Europa League holders marks a rapid ascent in his coaching career. The 41-year-old’s deal is worth around £4 million per season, according to the Guardian’s Dominic Fifield.
“Everyone knows my love for this club and the history we have shared. However, my sole focus is on the job in hand and preparing for the season ahead,” Lampard told BBC Sport.
It’s believed Chelsea paid Derby more than £4 million in compensation to secure Lampard as Maurizio Sarri’s successor.
Derby were almost promoted to the Premier League last term but lost to Aston Villa in the Championship playoff final.
Despite that setback, Lampard was lauded for his handling of Chelsea youngsters Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori during their season-long loans in the East Midlands. Lampard also entrusted Harry Wilson, who was on a temporary spell from Liverpool, with a key role in the Rams’ attacking contingent and it paid off handsomely, with the promising Welsh international bagging 16 goals and four assists.
This is perhaps the best time for Chelsea to introduce more youthful talent to the first-team fold, as the Blues will serve a transfer ban over the next two windows for breaching regulations relating to signing young players. They are, however, appealing the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
In Morris, Lampard could have the ideal assistant to help him select academy graduates to promote to the senior squad. Morris returned to Chelsea in 2014 and worked with the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Andreas Christensen in the youth system.
The Under-18 side won seven trophies, including its fourth and fifth successive titles in the FA Youth Cup, during the final two years of Morris’ second stint at Chelsea.
“Jody has been hugely successful with Chelsea’s youth team and he has won everything there is to win in the last few years,” Lampard said when he appointed Morris to his backroom team at Derby last summer.
“He is great at developing young players and that is something we are really going to look to do here.”
Lampard starred during the most successful era of Chelsea’s history. He won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, and achieved honors in both the Champions League and Europa League between 2001 and 2014. He also appeared 106 times for England before his retirement in 2016.
Former Blues star Gianfranco Zola has stepped down as assistant coach following one season at the club. The Italian was initially lured to Stamford Bridge by countryman Sarri.