Next Chelsea manager: Frank Lampard set for return as Maurizio Sarri nears 'inevitable' Juventus move

Chelsea are holding out for more than £5m from Juventus for Maurizio Sarri, but the feeling from both camps is that a deal is inevitable, potentially clearing the way for Frank Lampard to return to the club as manager.

The Italian champions’ sporting director Fabio Paratici has been in London the last few days to negotiate, with the club having made Sarri their preferred choice to succeed Max Allegri.

Chelsea are insisting on compensation, since that’s what they had to pay to get Sarri out of his Napoli contract last summer.

Once that is done, they will look to similarly buy out Lampard’s contract at Derby County.

Chelsea’s all-time scorer is now favoured by the club after an impressive season in the Championship, where he took the side to the play-off final, with his work on young players especially notable.

The Stamford Bridge hierarchy hope he will be the manager to finally bring through more of their exciting academy products, something that could become all the more important in the event of a pending transfer ban.

Chelsea have also considered Watford’s Javi Gracia, Laurent Blanc and Allegri himself, but a move for Lampard now looks likeliest.

Sarri met all his targets in a controversial single season at Chelsea, qualifying for the Champions League and winning a first career trophy in the Europa League, but never forged a link with the supporters amid groans about boring football.

Juventus are not put off by that in the slightest, as they feel there are many caveats to that, and believe Sarri’s supreme work at Napoli – not to mention some of the excellent football played – is much more relevant.

The hope on all sides is that it doesn’t lead to the impasse of last summer.

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