Frank Lampard has been freed to open talks with Chelsea about becoming their next boss, with Derby hoping for a quick resolution to a long-running saga.
Speculation regarding a return to Stamford Bridge for a Blues legend has raged for some time.
Talk of a move to west London for Lampard had started to build before Maurizio Sarri moved on.
Lampard quickly emerged as the firm favourite to take the reins, with the ex-England international boasting strong ties to the club from his playing days.
Derby have reluctantly agreed to let the 41-year-old enter into negotiations and stressed that they want a long-running saga brought to a close as swiftly as possible.
The Rams said in a statement on their official website: “Derby County Football Club can confirm that they have granted permission for Chelsea Football Club to speak to Frank Lampard about the vacant managerial position at Stamford Bridge.
“With pre-season fast approaching for both clubs it is hoped this will allow Chelsea to swiftly conclude their discussions.
“The club will make no further comment until it is appropriate to do so.”