According to the Athletic (subscription required), Chelsea are planning to make another approach to sign Declan Rice from West Ham in the January transfer window.
The Athletic’s Simon Johnson reports that the Blues are hoping Rice, who they released from their academy at the age of 14, will knock back West Ham’s offers of a new contract.
It’s added that Chelsea believe they can convince Rice to make a mid-season switch, on the proviso that they are able to agree a transfer fee with the Hammers.
The Athletic claim that the only reason for Chelsea never making an official bid for Rice in the summer was the fact that a couple of sales fell through.
These permanent exits were needed to provide the funds for a Rice offer after the Blues already spent £200m on Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell, Edouard Mendy and Thiago Silva.
The Athletic add that Frank Lampard would intend to use 21-year-old Rice as either the side’s first-choice defensive midfielder and as a possible option at centre-back.
The 6ft1 ace was a central defender as a youngster, but his professional career has seen him flourish in midfield, with the occasional outing at the heart of the Hammers’ defence.
With Rice contracted until the summer of 2024 and the ace continuing to step up his game whilst further cementing himself as a key player for England, it could take some fee to sign the starlet.
Rice is steadily improving his attacking ability and chance creation as well, with the youngster already boasting 106 Premier League appearances to date.
It’s a perfect situation for Rice, he has the prospect of discussing a new contract with the Hammers – which would include a ‘significant’ pay rise, or a move to a potentially contending club in Chelsea.