Derby County owner Mel Morris is hoping that Frank Lampard will remain in charge of the club next season, but said it is inevitable his manager will be appointed by Chelsea at some point.
Chelsea were given permission by Derby on Tuesday to begin talks with Lampard over succeeding Juventus-bound Maurizio Sarri as their new head coach.
The 41-year-old made his step into coaching with the Championship side in 2018-19 and came within one win of guiding the club to Premier League promotion via the play-offs.
Lampard is widely expected to take over at Stamford Bridge in the coming days, and Morris does not begrudge the Chelsea great for wanting to return to his former club.
“When Frank met me for the first time, we talked about this opportunity and even then we knew at some stage this was going to happen. We just didn’t know when,” he told talkSPORT .
“We talked about that and we both probably thought it would be some way off and, let’s face it, right now it’s still not a done deal.
“Let’s be blunt, as far as I’m concerned I’m hoping this guy is going to manage us next season. I’m not giving up hope on that at the moment.
“But you’d have to say at some point it will happen – whether it’s now or some point in the future.”