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4 Jul, 2019 09:19

OFFICIAL: Chelsea legend Frank Lampard returns as manager, despite Instagram down delay

OFFICIAL: Chelsea legend Frank Lampard returns as manager, despite Instagram down delay

The top goalscorer in Chelsea history, Frank Lampard, has been confirmed as the London club's new manager after signing a deal to take charge at Stamford Bridge following the departure of Maurizio Sarri to Juventus.

Lampard becomes the 14th managerial appointment under Roman Abramovich's 16-year reign in West London, and the first Englishman to take the top job in that time.

The former England midfielder takes over after his debut managerial season in charge of Championship outfit Derby County, where he guided the team to the play-off final.

In perhaps a football first, Blues fans were forced to wait for the news as the announcement was delayed by Instagram experiencing a technical fault.

In due course, the 41-year-old was named as replacing Italian manager Sarri, who traded London for Turin and the Juventus job after enduring a stop-start campaign in his debut season in English football. 

Amid mounting speculation a deal was imminent after Lampard was given permission by Derby to miss training to discuss terms with Chelsea, the London club confirmed his appointment in an announcement on Thursday. 

Despite winning the Europa League and finishing a respectable third place in the Premier League, Sarri was never quite taken in as one of their own at Stamford Bridge, and decided on a move back to his native Italy.

Lampard will not have that particular problem. He made 648 appearances in Chelsea blue throughout a 13-year association with the club which coincided with the most fruitful period in their history, winning the Premir League three times, the FA Cup four times, and both the Champions League and Europa League.

Lampard guided Derby to the Championship play-off final in what would ultimately be his final game in charge of the club, where they lost the game and a place in the Premier League to Aston Villa. 

His planning for next season at Chelsea will be complicated by two-window transfer ban currently imposed upon Chelsea for breaking transfer guidelines in recent years.

Christian Pulisic, signed from and loaned back to Borussia Dortmund in January, will be the primary reinforcement at Lampard's disposal but whether the American can fill the boots of the departed Eden Hazard remains to be seen. 

Also on rt.com Chelsea sign Pulisic for $73mn in highest ever fee for US player

A plus point for Lampard's appointment will likely be his mandate for integrating youth into an ageing Chelsea side - and his track record for doing just so at Derby. Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori, Chelsea youngsters on loan at Derby last season, made a big impression in the Championship while Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi both appear to be stars in the making after breakthrough seasons under Sarri. 

Furthermore, Lampard's status at the club will give the notoriously trigger-happy Abramovich pause to think as to whether or not he is an asset which can be jettisoned like all those managers before him lest he suffer the wrath of the Stamford Bridge faithful.

Lampard's inexperience makes this a risky appointment but given the club's current circumstances, it could be just the move to steady the ship.