Chelsea are expected to seek talks with Derby over a deal to install Frank Lampard as the next Blues manager.
Derby are understood to be braced for Chelsea to make contact, with Lampard the front-runner to replace Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge.
Juventus are poised to confirm Sarri as their new boss on a three-year deal, with Chelsea having secured a compensation package it is understood could rise as high as £10million.
Lampard notched a club-record 211 goals in a stellar Chelsea career from 2001 to 2014, and racked up 106 caps for England.
The 40-year-old has had just one year in management, but steered Derby to the Championship play-offs in his sole campaign. Lampard’s assistant Jody Morris could also make a return to his former club, to bolster the Blues’ backroom staff.
Derby could hold out for £4million to hand Chelsea the green light for talks with Lampard, but the Blues would likely be unfazed given their impressive return on the severance package with Juventus over Sarri.
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech is expected to return to the club in a technical director role too, which would prove popular with the fans and a good fit given the Czech stopper was long-term team-mates with Lampard.
Chelsea have appealed their two-window transfer ban with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but crucially have not asked for a freezing of that embargo pending the hearing, which is yet to be scheduled.
Lampard spent some time behind the scenes at Chelsea when completing his coaching badges, so still retains detailed knowledge of the Stamford Bridge set-up.
The goal-scoring midfielder would be well placed to work with Chelsea’s crop of talented youngsters then, who would likely be handed extra first-team chances should that transfer ban be enforced.