Lampard to Chelsea talk boosts young stars' hopes as Blues work on backroom team

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The atmosphere among the academy setup has been lifted by the prospect of a club legend returning to Stamford Bridge as manager

Chelsea are looking to progress talks with Derby County to secure Frank Lampard as their new manager in the coming days, with his potential appointment boosting the morale of both the club’s loanees and academy stars.

Multiple sources close to academy staff and players have indicated that there is an increased feeling that homegrown talent can make it at Chelsea after over a decade of disappointment when youngsters have traditionally been overlooked.

The Blues squad have yet to hear the news directly from the club about Lampard, but the noise around the appointment has fed back to youth players and loan stars who are holding off on offers to leave Stamford Bridge this summer as hopes grow over the next manager.

Derby will ask for £4 million to release Lampard from his contract, which has two years left to run, as the Blues also start to work out the make-up of his coaching staff for next season.

A change of regime in the first team is not the sole reason for the improved mood as a transfer ban imposed on Chelsea by FIFA will force the incoming manager to promote several youth players to refresh his squad next season.

According to FIFA, Chelsea breached regulations for the transfers of 29 international Under-18 players, leading to a two-window transfer embargo. Chelsea have denied any wrongdoing and have appealed to the Court Arbitration of Sport (CAS) without asking for provisional measures to freeze the ruling.

This could be a strategic move by Chelsea's director Marina Granovskaia, who would have seen the club be vulnerable to inflated asking prices with a rush to sign players.

There will also be an overhaul of the academy setup, with former goalkeeper Petr Cech's new role thought to include some oversight of operations at Cobham Training Centre.

Claude Makelele will return to his former club, too, and he will be involved in the loan setup, offering significant experience as Manchester City outdo the Blues when it comes to support for players out on temporary deals.

Before Joe Cole re-joined the Blues last season, City had three times more coaches supporting their loanees than Chelsea, despite having fewer players out on loan.

The return to Chelsea of Jody Morris as assistant manager is another significant mood improver for many around the Surrey training facility after the historic quadruple he won at Under-18 level with his boyhood club led to him working with Lampard at Derby.

Morris' standing at Stamford Bridge is high and he has been critical of coaches for overlooking players from the youth groups in the past.

"You've got to have a manager that, first and foremost, wants to look," he told Sky Sports in September. "We've had managers at Chelsea where they'd be 50 yards away, there'd be a Champions League U19s game going on, and the manager's sat in his office, rather than coming out to watch. It's very disheartening.

"It's not my place to go over there and start talking to managers, but some managers aren't interested - they don't care about youth. They judge the first team and want to get their own players in.

"The thing about Chelsea is I don't think there's an academy in this country that's better, but it doesn't look like that on paper because of the amount of players who are not playing in the first team."

Departed manager Maurizio Sarri ultimately promoted Callum Hudson-Odoi from the fringes of his first-team squad to play in the Premier League last season but his handling of the 18-year-old was a major factor behind the winger handing in a transfer request in January, as Bayern Munich made an offer of £35 million to secure a player who would go on to play for England.

The newly-appointed Juventus coach is set to be unveiled in Turin on Thursday after what was a successful season at Chelsea where he won the Europa League and finished in the top four of the Premier League.

However, a significant factor behind Sarri's unpopularity with a section of the fan base was his use of the youth players and he was the first Blues manager since Roman Abramovich took over the club in 2004 to not give a debut to a player from the academy throughout a season.

Lampard has publicly stated his admiration for the likes of Hudson-Odoi and Ethan Ampadu, while he also signed Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori on loan from Chelsea last season in the Championship.

Chelsea will have to use an academy goalkeeper as their third-choice option next season having seen Rob Green retire and Eduardo leave to sign for Braga on a two-year deal.

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Kurt Zouma, Tomori or Ampadu will likely need to act as a fourth centre-back, with Gary Cahill having left the club. Reece James is well-placed to replace Davide Zappacosta, who was close to leaving for Lazio in January.

Gonzalo Higuain is due to return to Juventus to work with Sarri once again so Michy Batshuayi, Tammy Abraham or both could be in Lampard's squad next season, with Alvaro Morata being desperate to stay at Atletico Madrid.

Furthermore, Chelsea's next sale is likely to tip them over £100 million in incoming transfer fees after Eden Hazard joined Real Madrid for an initial £88m, while Metz signed loan star Victorien Angban and Torino activated an option to keep Ola Aina at the club.

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