Sarri's Juventus agreement paths the way for Lampard's return to the Bridge

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The managerial merry-go round begins

When it comes to transfers and managerial appointments, no one quite does it like Roman Abramovich and Chelsea.

The Russian billionaire is one of the most ruthless, trigger happy owners in the game but the Blues success since he arrived in England speaks for itself, with them going on to win every major trophy on offer. But on the flip side he's got through 12 managers since buying the club back in 2004, resulting in paying out over £93m in compensation.

But it now looks like we have another name to add to that list of departed managers, with Maurizio Sarri edging towards the exit door. The Italian has endured a difficult first year in England which saw him involved in spats with his players, being jeered by supporters and thrashed by Manchester City (6-0) & Bournemouth (4-0).

But despite all the obstacles and criticism, he managed to take Chelsea back into the Champions League by steering them to a third placed finish along with delivering his first piece of major silverware. A 4-1 win over Arsenal in the Europa League final rounded off what ended up being a good first season, which also included an appearance in the EFL Cup final.

Many Chelsea fans were calling for his head not long ago but the way they ended the campaign changed their thoughts somewhat. However, despite this it appears that their win over the Gunners in Baku may well have been his final outing as Blues boss. Juventus are in the market for a new coach after the departure of Massimiliano Allegri and on Sunday it was confirmed that Sarri will indeed be heading back to his homeland.

The Italian's departure means that this is the first time that Abramovich hasn't had his own way when it comes to managers. He's never lost a boss to another club and it comes just days after selling their star player Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, so there's some worrying times ahead for Chelsea fans right?

Well, to counter the negativity surrounding the Hazard and Sarri situations, it looks like the Blues are lining up club legend Frank Lampard as the man to come in and take the reigns - a move that would go down a treat with the supporters.

He's made an impressive start to his managerial career in the Championship with Derby but moving to Stamford Bridge would represent a colossal step up. Expectations and pressure would be sky high so it wouldn't be easy & that's before taking their transfer ban into account.

Uncertain, but potentially exciting times are head for Chelsea fans but what can they expect?

Is it too late to say Sarri?

A few months ago you'd have struggled to have found a Chelsea fan that was in favour of Maurizio Sarri sticking around next season.

The undying faith in Jorginho, the unwillingness to throw in home-grown talent such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi, the miss-use of N'Golo Kante, the predictable Kovacic-Barkley (or vice versa) substitute, the list goes on.

Blues supporters weren't happy with the Italian but the way that the season has panned out, he's actually done a very good job.

Being Chelsea manager isn't easy. The expectation level is through the roof and in Roman Abramovich you have someone who demands success, so to deliver Champions League football, a Premier League improvement (5th to 3rd) and two cup finals, whilst implementing a completely new way of playing (SarriBall) in your first season is excellent work.

Chelsea Europa League
Chelsea's 4-1 win over Arsenal in Baku was the perfect way to round off the season, but it looks likely that it's Sarri's final game as Blues boss

Perhaps if he'd have been treated better throughout the season he may have considered staying, but with Serie A giants Juventus calling, it appears that he wants out. The Old Lady are in the market for a new coach and despite Sarri's values and philosophy being considerably different to Massimilinao Allegri, the man he could potentially be replacing, he could be a fantastic fit there.

For years now Juve have been built on strong defensive foundations, being robust and hard to beat. It appears that the clubs hierarchy wants to move in a new direction and Sarri has proven both at Chelsea and Napoli that he demands attacking, possession based football which generally results in success. Juve have a ridiculously talented squad so if they can adapt to his philosophy quickly, there's no reason why the can't go on and end their Champions League drought which now stands at 23 years (1996).

It's taken a while for the Chelsea players to really get to grips with it after using the rigid 3-4-3 system under Antonio Conte for the last couple of years, but it was just beginning to click. So now with him out the door, they're going to have to get used to a new system and a new way of playing again.

The return of the king?

The loss of Sarri is a major blow as the club appeared to be making strides under the Italian, but what better way is there to get the fans back on board than bringing back a true club legend. Step forward Frank Lampard.

A real icon of the modern Chelsea era, Lampard spearheaded the Blues success in the Abramovich era alongside the likes of John Terry, Didier Drogba, Ashley Cole and Petr Cech - who's also in line to return to the club. His 13 year stay in West London resulted in 11 major trophies and a massive 211 goals, making him the clubs all-time leading goalscorer, all of this coming from midfield. So what a man to bring in.

For the football romantics this is really fairytale stuff and a lot would love for him to go in and be a real success at Stamford Bridge, but the reality is that it's not going to be easy. Replacing Sarri will be a tough task and he has the challenge of doing so with no Eden Hazard and a transfer ban - which leaves the Blues unable to make any new signings until next summer.

Tests don't come much bigger than this and it's going to be a real assessment of Lampard's managerial credentials after impressing in his debut campaign in the Championship with Derby County. He guided a young Rams side to the play-offs where they were narrowly beaten by Aston Villa (2-1) at Wembley, a real disappointing but ultimately proud day for him.

Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard has made an impressive start to life in management, almost capping it with promotion to the Premier League

But Derby's success shows he knows how to build, structure and motivate a team. His insistence on persisting with youth made him a real popular figure with the fans and with Chelsea's upcoming ban, it's something he may have to do at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues supporters have been crying out for their younger players to be given more minutes and under Lampard you'd certainly expect that to be the case. He had highly rated youngsters Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomouri on loan at Pride Park last summer so he's seen first hand how good they are, throw in the likes of Christian Pulisic, RLC, CHO, Andreas Christensen and possibly Tammy Abraham & there's a very exciting core to build on.

It's an interesting move this one but it's one that makes sense. Chelsea haven't had an English manager for 23 years now and by bringing in Lampard they have someone who'd receive the full backing from everyone at the club, which is crucial with them about to enter a very difficult period - but he needs to be given time.

John Terry Frank Lampard Petr Cech Chelsea
John Terry and Frank Lampard became icons of Chelsea's success following the 2004 takeover, a return for the latter as manager would be the stuff of dreams for the fans

Roman Abramovich is renowned for being a trigger happy owner but with Lampard things could be different. The pair still have a great relationship from his playing days and you'd like to think he'd understand the tricky situation he's going to be inheriting. But we can't help but feel that it's a little too soon for him to be making the step up.

He's made a fantastic start to his managerial career with Derby but an extra year or two would give him some much needed experience which would stand him in very good stead going forward. But at the same time, opportunities like this don't come around too often and if anyone is going to be given time by Abramovich, then it's him.

Where does this leave the Blues going forward?

We're heading into really uncertain times for Chelsea Football Club. You never know what to expect when you replace a manager, even if it is someone who knows the club inside out like Frank Lampard.

The Blues were just starting to adjust to SarriBall but now under Lampard, if of course he's appointed, they'll have to fit into a new system and style that'll bring up its own challenges.

Despite being the best of the rest in the Premier League last term, they still finished a massive 26 points behind Champions Manchester City and with them unable to sign any new players, the new manager has a ridiculously difficult test on his hands to make up that ground.

We just hope that Lampard is given the time to get this side firing, which hopefully will take him at through until their ban is lifted at least, meaning he can put his own print on what is a very talented Chelsea squad.

Frank Lampard
Can Lampard emulate his success on the pitch in the dugout?

Should this move come to fruition, he'll be the only English manager amongst the top six so it's great to see one potentially given an opportunity.

All-in-all, it's a worrying, strange but exciting time ahead for Chelsea fans. Not many managers would fancy taking on this challenge all things considered, but by giving a genuine legend of the game the chance to do so it could have a very positive effect.

Should Lampard be handed the reigns, he'll begin life as Blues manager with a trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United on 11th August, followed by a date with Liverpool in Istanbul for the UEFA Super Cup four days later. Blockbuster stuff.

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