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04th Jul 2019

Frank Lampard and Chelsea’s dream reunion could be a risk that both parties rue

This season is a free hit for Chelsea, but Lampard has everything to lose as he takes over at the club where he's considered a God in their hour of need

Reuben Pinder

Lampard is currently a legend at Chelsea, but that could all change very soon

Frank Lampard has officially replaced the living, breathing cigarette that is Maurizio Sarri as Chelsea manager, just one year into his managerial career.

The mood among Chelsea fans is understandably one of excitement – one of the club’s biggest legends is returning to Stamford Bridge after a season which saw the atmosphere turned toxic.

At a time when the club cannot sign any new players, it is the sort of boost the fans need. But this fairytale reunion could well have a tragic ending.

Lampard is right to leave Derby while he can. Having achieved what every Derby manager seems to achieve – almost getting promoted – and several loanees returning to their parent clubs this summer, it’s unlikely that he would have been able to replicate the ‘success’ of his first year at Pride Park.

At Derby, Lampard could command instant respect from his players, many of whom had grown up watching him scoring hundreds of goals for Chelsea and representing England at the highest level.

And while Chelsea fans will afford him the patience that Manchester United fans have shown Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during a bad run of results, the players may not.

Lampard’s generation of Chelsea players pretty much invented player power, fostering a culture that has outlived numerous managers over the past two decades and evolved into something much bigger than most could ever have imagined.

Should Lampard’s romantic return not to go plan, he could soon become a victim of the culture that he and his past Chelsea teammates used to such effect.

At Derby, Lampard was the story. He was the biggest ego in the dressing room. But now, while many of the players will have looked up to him as a footballer – and a couple have even played with him – he still has to prove himself as a manager to them.

It’s entirely possible that the step up could see Lampard get found out tactically at the top level, as we have seen before with countless other great players-turned-managers who can’t transfer their talent from the pitch to the dugout.

It is a relatively low risk appointment for Chelsea – expectations aren’t high after a the departure of Eden Hazard and the transfer ban preventing them from bringing in any new stars.

If it doesn’t go to plan and they finish mid-table, the club have plenty of excuses locked and loaded. Lampard on the other hand, despite deserving credit for having the self-belief to accept a job of this size, could see his reputation as a manager take a hit just a couple of years into what is shaping up to be a promising career.

It’s a huge leap for Lampard, who might be wiser taking a job at a slightly smaller club before eventually making the step up to Chelsea when the time is right. And let’s face it, he’ll have other chances to take the job. This is Chelsea we’re talking out.