Frank Lampard sacked with Thomas Tuchel favourite to be new Chelsea manager

Lampard oversaw nearly £300 million ($409m) on new players ahead of this season

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Chelsea have sacked manager Frank Lampard following a poor run of form that has seen the London club disappear from the Premier League title race.

The London club spent nearly £300 million ($409m) on new players ahead of this season, but have failed to mount a serious title challenge after finishing fourth in Lampard's debut season in charge.

Owner Roman Abramovich took the unusual step of releasing a personal statement along with a club one, saying it was a "difficult decision" to release Lampard, whom he appointed in July 2019, but that he believed it was the best course if the West London club were to arrest their alarming slump.

"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," added Abramovich.

"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."

Lampard, who enjoyed a 13-year playing career at Chelsea, winning the Premier League three times as well as the Champions League and Europa League, led Chelsea to a top-four finish and the FA Cup final in his debut 2019/20 campaign in charge, but has failed to get the best out of a squad supplemented with expensive signings such as Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech this time around.

Despite Sunday's FA Cup win over Championship side Luton Town, Lampard's position has been the subject of intense speculation due to poor league form that has seen them lose five of their last eight league games.

The Blues are currently ninth in the table - having been top at one stage - 11 points off leaders Manchester City and five behind fourth-placed Liverpool.

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Chelsea 3, Luton Town 1

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"This has been a very difficult decision, and not one that the owner and the board have taken lightly," Chelsea said in a separate statement.

"We are grateful to Frank for what he has achieved in his time as head coach of the club. However, recent results and performances have not met the club’s expectations, leaving the club mid-table without any clear path to sustained improvement.

"There can never be a good time to part ways with a club legend such as Frank, but after lengthy deliberation and consideration it was decided a change is needed now to give the club time to improve performances and results this season."

Thomas Tuchel has emerged as favourite to replace Lampard, with reports suggesting the 47-year-old German's representatives are already in advanced talks with Abramovich.

Tuchel has previously managed Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain, guiding the French club to a first Champions League final last August before being sacked on Christmas Eve.

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