Frank Lampard was reportedly at odds with Marina Granovskaia prior to being sacked as Chelsea manager – partly over his desire to sign Declan Rice.
The Athletic say Lampard wanted the club to sign Rice from West Ham as well as Burnley’s former Brentford defender James Tarkowski, but that director Granovskaia had reservations about both players and so neither were pursued.
England international Rice was on Chelsea’s books prior to joining West Ham and has long been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.
He looks less likely to return now that Lampard has lost his job as Blues boss after 18 months at the helm.
He leaves with the club ninth in the table, having lost five of their past eight Premier League matches.
Former Paris St-Germain and Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel is expected to take over.
In a statement, Chelsea said: “This has been a very difficult decision, and not one that the owner and the board have taken lightly.
“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.”