Former Chelsea player Frank Lampard could be back on the way to the Blues. Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Photo

Chelsea players have been left in limbo by the delay in appointing Maurizio Sarri’s successor.

Frank Lampard is the man Chelsea want to be their next boss but the club have yet to make an official approach to Derby.

Moves to secure Lampard’s romantic return to his former club are expected to accelerate next week. Players will start arriving back for pre-season the week after next, and Chelsea want their new manager in place before the start of July.

But until then, a number of players are being forced to wait before clarifying where they will be next season.

The delay is a significant problem for stars who are keen to leave, either on loan or a permanent basis, in order to play regular first-team football. Those difficulties are accentuated by the fact the transfer window is shorter this summer, with the market closing on August 8.

Among the players whose futures are still to be resolved is defender Kurt Zouma. The France international spent last season on loan at Everton, where he impressed with a series of dominant displays.

Everton boss Marco Silva wants to keep Zouma at Goodison Park next season but the centre half’s future will not be clarified until after a new manager is in place.

Other players waiting to hear whether they can leave Stamford Bridge next season are Tiemoue Bakayoko, Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi.

Derby will not stand in Lampard’s way as long as their compensation demands of £4million are met but are aware that the days are ticking by towards pre-season. The Rams are planning a training camp in Florida, with their first game against Sarasota Metropolis on July 10.

Meanwhile, Antonio Rudiger has begun his rehabilitation programme following knee surgery. The central defender missed the final games of last season and is in Dubai starting his recovery.

Daily Mail