Frank Lampard’s fight to keep his job at Chelsea is being aided as the club struggle to identify his successor.
The 42-year-old is under mounting pressure with Chelsea 11 points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester United after winning two of their previous seven Premier League games.
While there is an acknowledgment of the job Lampard did last season in securing a top-four finish despite a FIFA transfer ban and reaching the Champions League round of 16 for the second consecutive year, senior figures at the club expected more this term having spent in excess of £220 million on players last summer.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will decide Lampard’s fate, but sources said advisors to Russian Billionaire, and director Marina Granovskaia, are torn over who should succeed him.
Speculation linked the unattached duo Thomas Tuchel and Massimiliano Allegri, as well as Southampton’s Ralph Hasenhuttl and Julian Nagelsmann of RB Leipzig as possible candidates.
The disagreement in part stems on whether to make an interim appointment until the end of the season — with former Blues manager Avram Grant and former Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko possible options — or wait until closer to the end of the season when more options would be available. Grant, for example, has not managed in the Premier League since 2011 after he was sacked following West Ham’s relegation, while Shevchenko never has.
It is possible for Lampard to turn the situation around, however he will be under no illusions of the merciless approach to managers at Stamford Bridge, considering Chelsea have made 13 managerial changes since Abramovich acquired the club in 2003.
Sources told ESPN several players are confused by Lampard’s approach, believing the chopping and changing in his starting lineup is contributing to inconsistent performances.