FRANK LAMPARD was sacked by Chelsea on Monday morning – and the warning signs were there for months.
The club legend, 42, was summoned for talks with chairman Bruce Buck and director Marina Granovskaia less than 24 hours after the 3-1 FA Cup win over Luton.
Frank Lampard’s sacking was months in the makingCredit: Reuters
Lampard was swiftly removed from his position in a calm, yet difficult conversation that took just half an hour.
While Monday’s sacking appeared to be a knee-jerk decision to many fans on the face of it, it was actually months in the making.
Chelsea overachieved in Lampard’s debut season, finishing fourth and securing a Champions League spot.
They then spent a monster £228.7million in the summer transfer window – only to sit way back in ninth in the Premier League this term.
⚽ Read our Chelsea live blog for the very latest news from the Bridge
From there, things quickly began to unravel… we take a look at every piece of the puzzle, from his deteriorating relationship with Granovskaia to a rift with his own players.
Lampard almost immediately put himself under pressure when he criticised the club LAST January.
The former boss seemed to imply he was frustrated by the board’s decision not to back him in the transfer market despite their embargo being lifted.
Lampard angered chiefs further around the same time when he dropped club-record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga for six matches.
FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE
Lampard’s relationship with Granovskaia has been deteriorating since last JanuaryCredit: Getty – Contributor
The £71.6million Spaniard was axed in favour of veteran Willy Caballero amidst a horror run of form between the sticks.
The board urged Lampard to encourage Kepa and give him the confidence he needed to succeed.
Instead, Lampard dropped the Spanish stopper again for the FA Cup semi-final and final, as well as crunch Premier League game with Wolves – before asking for MORE money to bring in a new stopper.
He ultimately brought in Edouard Mendy in a £24m deal from Rennes.
The former boss then attempted to sell star defender Antonio Rudiger and move for ex-academy ace Declan Rice – with Lampard vocal in his desire to land the West Ham man.
Granovskaia wasn’t keen on the idea – especially for what would have surely been a new club-record transfer fee – and also rejected the chance to sign Burnley’s James Tarkowski.
She and the board ordered Lampard to make do with what he already had, which included free summer moves for Malang Sarr and Thiago Silva.
A Chelsea source even told The Athletic: “He needs to stop pushing for Rice or he’ll lose his job.
“The hierarchy are very wary about the potential embarrassment of buying back an academy reject at huge expense.”
The source then claimed Granovskaia had started to look to the future as early as last year.
Lampard’s incessant desire to bring Rice back to Chelsea frustrated Granovskaia furtherCredit: Rex Features
They revealed: “Marina said she was considering her strategy and was actively replanning the managerial situation.”
Transfers were quickly becoming a bone of contention, with mega-money moves for Kai Havertz and Timo Werner both leaving much to be desired.
The pair cost a combined £118m and have struggling mightily for form.
Werner, particularly, has struggled to adapt to life in England with his lack of confidence plain to see, missing a host of open goals, one-on-ones and even a penalty during the 3-1 win over Luton.
The board was also left concerned by Chelsea’s performances this season.
While the results were bad, Blues bigwigs were more concerned by the lack of confidence amongst the players.
A number of stars are said to have been left ‘hurt’ by Lampard’s public criticism of the squad and believed him to lack empathy, despite his long career as a player himself.
The 2-0 defeat at Leicester proved to be the final nail in the coffin – with Chelsea chiefs spending the next morning looking for a replacement.
Lampard even shook hands with his players and thanked them for their efforts.
Even before that, following the 1-0 win over Fulham, the atmosphere in the dressing room ‘felt like goodbye’, according to The Athletic’s source.
Lampard was accused of lacking empathy by players as he took aim at them in publicCredit: AFP
The Blues even attempted to bring in Ralf Rangnick on a short-term deal until the end of the season following the Foxes failure.
Ex-Arsenal target Rangnick rejected the offer, with Chelsea turning their attention to Massimiliano Allegri, Julian Nagelsmann and Thomas Tuchel.
Former Juventus chief Allegri is believed to be pursuing other options, while RB Leipzig refused to part with Nagelsmann.
Tuchel, who was sacked by Paris Saint-Germain in December, is now claimed to have ‘agreed’ to join Chelsea.
The incoming boss is expected to be on the bench for Wednesday’s Premier League clash at home to Wolves, but is currently in Germany pending the results of a coronavirus test
It’s hoped Tuchel can transform the club’s fortunes, but particularly finally get the best out of Havertz and Werner.
Lampard appeared to struggle to know where best to play the German duo, with both often starting out of position.
Natural centre-forward Werner was regularly shunted out left, while No10 Havertz has played in both deeper roles and on the wing.
Under serious pressure, it’s also claimed Lampard would have QUIT had he been at any other club.
The fact it was Chelsea was the only thing keeping him at Stamford Bridge.
But at the same time, the fact it was Lampard was the only reason Roman Abramovich decided to keep him at the club so long as results suffered.
Abramovich even released a statement following the sacking – the first time he has ever commented on the firing of a manager since taking over in 2003.
The Russian said: “This was a very difficult decision for the Club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him’.
“He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers.
“On behalf of everyone at the Club, the Board and personally, I would like to thank Frank for his work as Head Coach and wish him every success in the future.
“He is an important icon of this great club and his status here remains undiminished.
“He will always be warmly welcomed back at Stamford Bridge.”
Ultimately though, Lampard leaves Chelsea with the WORST win-rate in the Abramovich era having picked up just seven points from his last eight games in charge.
To top off Lampard’s chaotic stay, his own players didn’t even hear of his sacking until reports spread online, with club officials keeping them in the dark.