Pre-season is almost up and running at Derby County but they still don’t know who their manager will be for the next campaign.
It seems Frank Lampard will be heading to Chelsea but as I write, that’s not been confirmed and whilst it could be that he’s sat on a yacht somewhere with Roman Abramovich thrashing out a deal, maybe there’s a chance he feels he won’t get a fair crack at the whip on this occasion and that it’s not the right time to head to Stamford Bridge.
Wishful thinking, perhaps, but Lampard’s an intelligent man and doesn’t seem the sort to let his heart rule his head even when the club where he is so revered come calling.
There’s no doubt he has unfinished business at Pride Park and had the Chelsea job not come up then he’d almost certainly have been putting all of his efforts into planning to go one better than the play-off final last season.
But even if he doesn’t go to Chelsea, preparations can’t have been straightforward for anyone at Derby given the ‘will he, won’t he?’ nature of what’s been going on.
Players have been linked with moves to Pride Park but who are they signing for?
Is it Lampard they want to work with? Has he identified those targets himself only to then leave when or before they sign? Will any new manager have different ideas as to what’s needed to improve the team?
These questions can’t be answered until a decision is made by Lampard, and indeed his coaching staff who are likely to follow him south, one way or another.
Rams owner Mel Morris (right) has, no doubt, been eyeing up suitable replacements for Lampard and it’s likely that should Chelsea snap him up, a new man could well be announced quite quickly - albeit perhaps not as quickly as Nottingham Forest installed their new man Sabri Lamouchi into what must literally have been the manager’s hotseat given how recently Martin O’Neill had vacated it.
Either way, the Rams’ pre-season travels to the USA aren’t far away and they’ll surely want things resolved long before they head across the Atlantic.
Lampard going to Stamford Bridge may well be a foregone conclusion but it carries a great deal of risk on all sides.
For Chelsea, they’re appointing a young and relatively inexperienced coach who may be a legendary player but who still has a lot to prove on a managerial level, something he’d be the first to admit.
For Lampard, if things go badly at Chelsea, it could seriously harm his chances of not only landing further top jobs fo a while but also returning for another crack at the whip with the Blues in the future should he improve his fortunes in the meantime.
On the flip side, should Lampard stay at Derby and things don’t go as well as they did last season, would that harm his future chances of landing his dream job, let alone any other plum role?
Time will tell, and it could well be that before long we’ll know one way or another, but for the sake of Derby County’s 2019/20 season things need to be resolved as soon as possible.