The Blues, who were being touted as Premier League title contenders only a month ago, endured a dismal December before losing 3-1 at home to Manchester City in their first outing of 2021.
As a result, reports have emerged suggesting Chelsea officials are already making contingency plans, with the Daily Mail claiming Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is one of five candidates to replace Lampard should Roman Abramovich drop his bloodied axe once more.
The former England midfielder retains Abramovich’s backing for now, but if he proves incapable of pulling them out of their current slump a familiar managerial chopping in SW6 may be on the cards.
Hasenhuttl is reportedly one of the names on Chelsea’s shortlist, along with recently-sacked PSG manager Thomas Tuchel and former RB Leipzig gaffer Ralf Rangnick.
Current Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann is also said to be of interest, while ex-Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is another option.
However, there remains one ideal candidate whose name is yet to be put forward - Nuno Espirito Santo.
Lampard’s appointment was intended to mark a new chapter of long-term stability at Stamford Bridge, a notion somewhat foreign to Abramovich after getting through 11 managers in his 17-year stint as owner.
If Chelsea’s all-time record goalscorer is not up to the task, that newfound desire for longevity should not change.
And the safest bet to bring a sense of order to west London is Nuno, 46, who has worked wonders since taking the Wolves reins.
After struggling with difficult early jobs at Valencia and Porto, the Portuguese rocked up at Molineux in 2017 and transformed Wolves’ fortunes.
The West Midlands were instantly promoted to England’s top flight as one of the most dominant Championship winners of all time, before securing back-to-back seventh-place finishes in the Premier League.
Yes, he has benefitted from the wealth of Wolves’ new Chinese owners, who purchased the club in 2016, as well as super agent Jorge Mendes’ influence. A net spend of almost £200million over the last three years shows that.
But splashing such large amounts of cash doesn’t always guarantee the level of success it perhaps deserves. Just ask Fulham and QPR fans for their thoughts on that.
As well as making several shrewd investments - not many batted an eyelid when Wolves spent £16million on Pedro Neto in 2019 but he has since emerged as one of the most exciting players in the Premier League this season - Nuno has got the best out of his big-money signings and proven he has what it takes to build an attractive, swashbuckling side while also getting results.
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He has spent the last two-and-a-half years getting to grips with the hustle and bustle of England’s top flight, cemented Wolves’ status as a top-seven Premier League outfit and put together an aesthetically-pleasing team who scored the joint-second highest amount of goals outside the top six last season.
If Abramovich’s trigger finger becomes itchy once more, Nuno would be the perfect fit for his long-term project at Stamford Bridge.