Frank Lampard’s appointment as the next Chelsea manager is “not a done deal”, says Derby County chairman Mel Morris.
Rams boss Lampard, 41, has been given permission to talk to the club where he spent 13 years a player following constant speculation he will take over from Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge.
But Morris told Talksport: “As far as I’m concerned, I’m hoping this guy is going to manage us next season.
“I’m not giving up hope on that at the moment.”
He continued: “When Frank met me for the first time, we talked about this opportunity. We knew at some stage this was going to happen, we just didn’t know when.
“We both probably thought it would be some way off. Let’s face it, that job comes around frequently so from that perspective there was always a risk.
“Right now it’s still not a done deal.”
In his first season as a manager, Lampard and assistant boss Jody Morris – another former Chelsea midfielder – guided Derby to the Championship play-off final, but they lost 2-1 to Aston Villa.
Chelsea approached Derby seeking after Sarris’s move to Juventus was confirmed.
Morris added: “For Frank Lampard it’s a win-win. He can’t lose in this situation. This is one of the top jobs in football and we have to respect that.”
What next for Derby?
Morris has appointed five permanent managers since becoming Derby chairman in June 2015.
Should Lampard leave, he will be looking for his sixth in just over four years.
However, Morris said Lampard’s influence will have a big impact on the next appointment
“We have seen how things have come together, with a connection between academy and first team, a style of football,” he added.
“To me the person we bring in if Frank moves on has to allow us to maintain the style of play.
“We want academy players in the first team as fast as possible while making sure they are good enough. A large part will be someone to keep the mission.”