Chelsea set to make approach for Derby boss Frank Lampard

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Chelsea are expected to seek talks with Derby over a deal to install Frank Lampard as the next Blues manager.

Derby are understood to be braced for Chelsea to make contact, with Lampard the front-runner to replace Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge.

Juventus are poised to confirm Sarri as their new boss on a three-year deal, with Chelsea having secured a compensation package it is understood could rise as high as £10million.

Lampard notched a club-record 211 goals in a stellar Chelsea career from 2001 to 2014, and racked up 106 caps for England.

The 40-year-old has had just one year in management, but steered Derby to the Championship play-offs in his sole campaign.

Lampard’s assistant Jody Morris could also make a return to his former club, to bolster the Blues’ backroom staff.

Derby could hold out for £4million to hand Chelsea the green light for talks with Lampard, but the Blues would likely be unfazed given their impressive return on the severance package with Juventus over Sarri.

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech is expected to return to the club in a technical director role too, which would prove popular with the fans and a good fit given the Czech stopper was long-term team-mates with Lampard.

Chelsea have appealed their two-window transfer ban with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but crucially have not asked for a freezing of that embargo pending the hearing, which is yet to be scheduled.

Lampard spent some time behind the scenes at Chelsea when completing his coaching badges, so still retains detailed knowledge of the Stamford Bridge set-up.

The goal-scoring midfielder would be well placed to work with Chelsea’s crop of talented youngsters then, who would likely be handed extra first-team chances should that transfer ban be enforced.

Former Napoli boss Sarri led Chelsea to the Europa League title, a third-place Premier League finish and the Carabao Cup final in his only season at Chelsea.

Maurizio Sarri

Maurizio Sarri

The former investment banker failed to win over the Chelsea fans however, who were frustrated by his regimented tactics and his apparent early reluctance to hand central roles to homegrown talents Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Juventus believe Sarri’s taskmaster approach will prove the perfect follow-up after Massimiliano Allegri’s departure.

Allegri had appeared on the initial list of candidates to replace Sarri at Chelsea, but has now insisted he will take a break from management, effectively ruling himself out of the Stamford Bridge running.

Cristiano Ronaldo is understood to have given his blessing for Sarri to succeed Allegri at Juventus.

The Portugal star appeared to look favourably on the way in which Sarri tried to build his Chelsea team around Eden Hazard, and considers the 60-year-old’s tactics well suited to Serie A.

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira struggling to adapt to life in England

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Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira has admitted to struggling with life in England following his big-money move from Italy last summer.

The Uruguay international joined the Gunners in a £26.4million deal from Sampdoria where he had spent the previous two seasons.

Despite making 50 appearances under manager Unai Emery last season, Torreira claims he has so far found it difficult to adapt.

Speaking to Uruguayan outlet Ovacion ahead of his country’s opening Copa America clash against Ecuador on Sunday, Torreira said: “I don’t know if there are many things that I enjoy. I think I had a better time in Italy.

“England is a totally different world. The language (barrier) has stopped me being able to relate with my team-mates and the people. It is very difficult when you can’t have dialogue.

“And then there is the weather. You go out in the morning and it is cloudy, you arrive at your house in the afternoon and it is cloudy.

“We are from here (Uruguay) and we are used to always – or almost always – having the sun. But as the years go by, I’m going to adapt.”

Torreira, who signed a five-year deal with Arsenal, helped the club to a fifth-place finish in the Premier League and the final of the Europa League last season.

The 23-year-old has at least enjoyed his time on the pitch, although losing to Chelsea in the Europa League final was tough.

“I went from the Italian championship to a totally different style of football and life,” added Torreira.

“We all know what England is about and what the Premier League is about. I made a very important jump at a football level.

“At Arsenal we played four competitions, while in Sampdoria I was used to playing in only two – the Serie A and Coppa Italia.

“There were many more matches. I had to get used to playing every three days, which is very hard.

“Unfortunately, we were not able to qualify directly to the Champions League, and we played in the final of the Europa League. Losing that final was very hard, not only for us but for the club.

“But for me the balance was positive and I am satisfied and happy with what I did during the year. I played 50 games, practically twice as much as I played the season before.

“As you gain experience and have different partners by your side, you will learn a lot. I have learned a lot, especially how to handle the matches and their different situations.”

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Man City and Liverpool set for flyers and other key stats after Premier League fixture reveal

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Manchester City

The new season’s Premier League fixtures point to last season’s title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool continuing their strong opening-day records.

City have started their season with a win for the last eight years in succession while the Reds have won five of their last six.

And with West Ham and Norwich respectively awaiting them, there appears little resistance this time around.

The Hammers have lost on day one for the last three seasons, including back-to-back 4-0 defeats at Manchester United and Liverpool, while City have won 4-0, 4-1 and 4-0 away to the Hammers in the last three seasons.

Sergio Aguero has the most opening-day goals in the Premier League among the competition’s active players, with six. He has not netted in any of those three wins at the London Stadium but did score there in January 2017’s 5-0 FA Cup win.

West Ham’s run of poor starts is mitigated by their opponents – after Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, United and Liverpool, the visit of City sees them complete the full set of “big six” opponents in successive seasons.

The only blemish on Liverpool’s recent record is the stoppage-time equaliser they conceded to Watford in their 2017 opener, and they face a Canaries side with only two wins on opening day in the last 20 years.

The opening weekend’s marquee fixture sees Manchester United host Chelsea on Sunday, August 11, with both teams enjoying strong records.

United have won their last four opening-day fixtures and eight out of 10, while Chelsea have only lost once on opening day in the last 20 years – although that came the season before last against Burnley.

Watford have the longest unbeaten run among current top-flight clubs at 12 games, though eight of those came as a Championship club and the run is evenly split between draws and wins.

Last season’s 2-0 win over Brighton was their first on opening day since returning to the top flight and the Hornets have the same fixture this time around.

Arsenal have lost three of their last four opening fixtures but face a Newcastle side who are winless in six, with the Magpies’ only point coming courtesy of 2015’s 2-2 draw with Southampton.

Tottenham will look to build on back-to-back opening wins when they face promoted Aston Villa, who have only one defeat in their last six curtain-raisers. Harry Kane broke his August duck last season but has still never scored in the first game.

Southampton have started with a draw four years in a row, against Newcastle, Watford, Swansea and Burnley, and the Clarets have another chance to end that run this year.

Everton are unbeaten in seven, though with only two wins, and face a Crystal Palace side who have begun with a defeat in six of their last eight campaigns.

Wolves, unbeaten in six opening games, face a Leicester side who have lost three in a row while Bournemouth, with two wins in their last five openers, host Sheffield United who have won only one out of five.

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