FRANK LAMPARD has reportedly spoken to Gianfranco Zola about staying on as a Chelsea coach.
His assistant Jody Morris is set to replace Zola as No2, while Shay Given will also join the backroom staff.
Morris swerved an awkward meeting with the Italian, 52, last month in a charity match against Real Madrid.
The 40-year-old was due to travel to Madrid to play alongside several Blues legends.
But he dodged it after Zola was told he would be demoted as part of the new regime.
According to The Chelsea Echo, Zola could remain at Stamford Bridge in a coaching capacity after being sounded out by Lampard on the phone.
The pair spent two seasons at Chelsea together and are both loved by the fans.
Zola has 11 years of coaching experience under his belt, having managed West Ham, Watford and Birmingham before joining the Blues as No2.
Lampard is on the verge of replacing Maurizio Sarri after impressing in his debut season as Derby manager, in which he led them to a play-off final where they were beaten by Aston Villa.
The Rams have given the 41-year-old permission to miss training today in order to secure a fairy tale return to Stamford Bridge.
And Derby owner Mel Morris says it is simply “a matter of time” until he is named Chelsea manager.
When asked if that were the case by talkSPORT host Jim White, Morris said: “I’m assuming so.
“Obviously it’s a matter between Chelsea and Frank at this stage, but they’ve now got the opportunity to finalise matters.
“As we’ve said before, when Frank and I first met we discussed this very eventuality, the only difference is the timing of this.
“My belief at this point in time is that Frank and Chelsea need to have the time to finalise the transaction between them.
“You could say they’ve had plenty of time, but in fairness Frank was away on vacation – and a well-deserved one after a pretty tough season – and he didn’t come back until Friday, so I think that has been a big factor.”
In a statement earlier today, Derby said: “Derby County Football Club has excused Frank Lampard from reporting back for pre-season training on Monday and Tuesday to allow his discussions regarding a potential move to Chelsea to be concluded as soon as possible.
“The first few days of pre-season training will be focused on fitness training and will continue as planned under the guidance of the fitness, medical, conditioning and sports science teams at the club’s Training Centre.
“On the assumption that Frank will reach an agreement with Chelsea to become their new manager, the club shall step up its efforts to find a replacement manager.”