Derby County are talking to boss Frank Lampard about a new deal amid speculation they will be approached by Chelsea for their former midfielder.
Chelsea are yet to make contact with the Rams about Lampard, who is the firm favourite to replace Juventus-bound Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge.
But Derby are keen to extend Lampard’s deal – which has two years left – and have opened talks with the 40-year-old.
Chelsea would have to pay around £4m in compensation if they appoint him.
Lampard took Derby into the Championship play-off final in his first season in management, but there are senior figures at Pride Park and Chelsea who wonder if now is not the right time for him to return to the club where he earned legendary status – winning three Premier League titles and the Champions League, in addition to becoming the club’s all-time top scorer with 211.
The former England player has previously spoken of his gratitude to Derby for giving him a chance in management, and he met club officials earlier this week as he continued preparations for the new season.
After the Rams’ play-off final defeat by Aston Villa, Lampard said he expected to honour his contract with the club.