Derby County have admitted they are bracing for a Chelsea approach for Frank Lampard but they have asked the Blues to be direct and respectful about it.
Former Derby defender Michael Johnson said: “We want to keep him, we want him to be our manager and, if there is to be an approach from Chelsea, then let’s be open and honest.
“The longer it goes on, the more disconnected we are as fans and as staff and that’s not right.
“There has been no direct contact made by Chelsea, but you can’t get away from the noises and it’s probably going to be more ‘when’ than ‘if’.”
He continued: “From our side, from Derby’s side, we want that little bit of respect from Chelsea’s regard.
“If you’re going to make the approach, just make the approach; be open and transparent about it.
“If we’re going to move on, then allow us to make that process happen. If not, then let’s squash all the rumours, allow the fans to relax, enjoy the summer and focus on Frank being our manager next year.”
“I understand, as a player, the pull. It’s your former club, you spent a lot of years there, and you’re a legend there,” he added.
“People will talk about lack of experience, but there’s no guarantee that experience will get you anywhere. I think it’s very hard to hide behind that he’s got a lack of experience.
“What I would say is that it was a great year to be involved with Derby County and, hopefully under his leadership, they’ll be many more!”