Chelsea are expected to name Thomas Tuchel as their new manager after sacking Frank Lampard on Monday.
Lampard’s status as the club’s record goalscorer and fan favourite could not save him from becoming Roman Abramovich’s 10th managerial sacking, even if the Russian acknowledged this was no ordinary decision as he made the rare step of issuing a personal statement of thanks to the outgoing man.
The former England midfielder – who won three league titles and the Champions League with Chelsea as a player – followed with his own statement, expressing disappointment that he was not given more time this season to take the club to the “next level”.
But with the decision made, attention must now quickly turn to his successor ahead of Wolves’ visit to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
The PA news agency understands Tuchel is the chosen man, with the 47-year-old having been available since leaving Paris St Germain last month.
It is not yet clear how soon Tuchel could actually take charge of first-team affairs given the need to observe coronavirus protocols upon his arrival.
Tuchel won back-to-back league titles with PSG and took them to the Champions League final only five months ago, when they lost to Bayern Munich.
That was not enough to satisfy the club’s ambitious owners, who replaced him with Mauricio Pochettino.
Prior to his spell in France, Tuchel impressed in his native Germany with Borussia Dortmund following a spell with Mainz.
Tuchel will be familiar with at least two members of the Chelsea squad after he worked with Thiago Silva at PSG and handed Christian Pulisic his chance at Dortmund while the American was still a teenager.
He will also inherit a number of big money upgrades signed in the summer, including Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, though arguably only the latter has justified his price tag so far.
Not getting the best out of them perhaps proved fatal for Lampard, who negotiated a transfer ban, introduced several young players and led the team to a fourth-placed finish and an FA Cup final in his first campaign, but could not convince Abramovich he could push on further in his second.
Lampard received support on Tuesday morning from Steven Gerrard, who labelled the club’s decision “no surprise” but tipped his former England team-mate to be back in the game soon.
“Obviously I’m gutted for Frank, he’s an ex-(team-mate) of mine, someone I respect greatly,” the Rangers boss said.
“But knowing the guy, he will be back in no time. He will dust himself down and get back involved. He will use this time to spend with his family. He’s obviously got a young family and one on the way.
“I’m disappointed for him. I thought it was a very swift exit on the back of a positive result at the weekend (3-1 win in FA Cup on Sunday).
“But I don’t know the details. I don’t know how it’s been for him, I don’t know the relationships that he’s had inside the club.
“I did think it was an opportunity for Chelsea to really reach out and support him during this tough period rather than do what they have done.
“But Chelsea have got history for that so it was no surprise.”
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti, himself sacked by Chelsea earlier in his career, said of Lampard during his pre-match press conference on Tuesday: “For sure he is going to have another opportunity soon.”