Frank Lampard will be absent from Derby training for a second-successive day as he continues to negotiate his Chelsea return.
Rams boss Lampard has been excused from reporting back for pre-season by the Championship club in order to conclude discussions with the Blues’ board.
The 41-year-old, who has two years remaining on his County contract, scored a club record 211 goals and won 11 major trophies as a Chelsea player between 2001 and 2014.
Derby owner Mel Morris believes it is only a matter of time before Lampard succeeds Maurizio Sarri as head coach at Stamford Bridge.
“I’m assuming so. Obviously it’s a matter between Chelsea and Frank at this stage, but they’ve now got the opportunity to finalise matters,” Morris told talkSPORT.
“When Frank and I first met, we discussed this very eventuality, the only difference is the timing of this.
“Our belief at this point in time is that Frank and Chelsea need to have the time now to finalise the transaction between them.”
On Monday, Derby gave Lampard an initial two days of authorised leave to complete the move.
The former England midfielder has had permission to speak with the Europa League winners since last Tuesday.
Morris said Lampard was away on holiday until Friday and believes that has been a “big factor” in delaying his potential appointment.
Derby, who were beaten in the Championship play-off final during Lampard’s first season in management, are scheduled to travel to Florida for a 10-day training camp later this week.
The Rams have already begun the search for a new manager.
“Derby County football Club has excused Frank Lampard from reporting back for pre-season training on Monday and Tuesday to allow his discussions regarding a potential move to Chelsea to be concluded as soon as possible,” read a statement on County’s official website.
“The first few days of pre-season training will be focused on fitness training and will continue as planned under the guidance of the fitness, medical, conditioning and sports science teams at the club’s training centre.
“On the assumption that Frank will reach an agreement with Chelsea to become their new manager, the club shall step up its efforts to find a replacement manager.”
Chelsea, meanwhile, have secured the permanent signing of Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid on a five-year contract for an undisclosed fee.
Croatia midfielder Kovacic made 51 appearances during a loan spell with the Blues last season.
The 21-year-old England forward has committed himself to the club until 2023, with the option of a further year.
The new deal reportedly puts the Academy graduate among the top earners at United, rewarding him for his progress since breaking into the first team in 2016.
The news also continues a positive summer for the Red Devils following the recent signings of Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is rebuilding after last season’s frustrating sixth-placed Premier League finish and Rashford wants to feature prominently in the Norwegian’s plans.
“It hurts every day to see where we are now, (compared) to where we’ve been in the past,” Rashford told The Times. “I use that pain as motivation. It makes me more determined to put the club back where they belong.
“There’s nothing I want more than to see the club winning the Premier League again, winning the Champions League again.
“Everybody here deserves much, much more than what we’re giving them right now, not only the fans, the club itself. They don’t deserve to be where they are now.
“As players, we’re the ones who have the opportunity to try and forget about the past five, six years and put the club back on track.”
Wythenshawe-born Rashford emerged as Solskjaer’s first-choice striker in the closing weeks of last season.
His previous contract was due to expire next year and, with other clubs including Barcelona reportedly interested, United were keen to tie up a new deal.
Even though the team’s form was poor as the 2018-19 campaign drew to a close, Rashford enjoyed working under Solskjaer, who took over from Jose Mourinho last December.
“The fact that he understands us way more than a normal manager is why he’s fitted in straight away.”
Rashford, who also has 32 England caps, is convinced Solskjaer’s methods will come good.
He said: “That’s what drives me every day. If I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t be waking up every morning and giving 100 per cent to try and put the club back where they belong.
“I believe in the players, the staff and the manager. The players have the faith in the manager now.
“If we’re going to do it, now’s the time. We’re looking forward to the new season. One season is not going to change it.
“It can take two or three seasons but I feel we’re ready to take the first step, and really start showing people that we are Manchester United.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
There are signposts each summer which point toward the new Premier League season and one of them has been mounted.
The transfer window is the first marker, then comes fresh kit launches before pre-season gets under way before we do it all again.
Most of the Premier League’s top-six have now all released all their home shirts for the 2019/20 season with Arsenal and Manchester City joining Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United in releasing their strips – we’re still waiting on Tottenham, though.
All have their own unique spin and so here’s what we’ll see gracing Premier League pitches next term.
This one will take some beating. The Gunners have returned to adidas following the skin-tight Puma era and the partnership has produced a beauty.
With a nod to their iconic past with a modern twist, the popping white sleeves and contrasting collar make for a stunning design.
Nike have also been heavily inspired by the past with their take on Chelsea’s 1992 shirt for the upcoming season.
There is some explanation behind the abstract print design with the graphic comprising imagery from Stamford Bridge’s North Stand, East and West Stands and Shed End.
The European champions have paid homage to their greatest European manager with their New Balance strip.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Bob Paisley’s birth and the inside-neck of each jersey includes an inscription of his signature with the shirt’s swing tag highlighting his achievements.
Puma have kicked off their alignment with City in sensational fashion.
The theme is Manchester and the city’s “industrial and cultural heritage” as the traditional sky blue jersey features “woven jacquard wave pattern” which represents the famous cotton looms.
Given their demise last season, peering into the previous golden glories might prove just the tonic for bitter United supporters.
Their historic treble-winning campaign in 1998/99 is the source of inspiration for United’s 2019/20 strip as it acknowledges the minutes of the goals scored in the Champions League final win plus the dates of the Premier League and FA Cup were clinched.