The Declan Rice transfer saga has been blown wide open after Frank Lampard’s Chelsea sacking this week, Fabrizio Romano has revealed to CaughtOffside.
The England international was aiming to move to Chelsea in order to play under his “idol” Lampard, but the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool could now be more serious contenders for his signature.
Lampard was replaced by Thomas Tuchel as Chelsea boss this week, and it’s not yet clear if he’ll remain a target for the Blues under the German tactician.
Either way, Romano believes the transfer race will now be more “open” due to Lampard’s departure, as Rice had been particularly keen to play under the legendary former midfielder.
“Declan Rice was really attracted by the chance of joining playing for Chelsea, but in particular for Frank Lampard, he was his idol,” Romano told CaughtOffside.
“He had this dream of joining Chelsea because having Lampard as manager was an opportunity for him to learn from a top former midfielder. Now without Lampard the situation could change.”
Romano added that Rice’s asking price put a key figure in the Chelsea board off the deal, with West Ham asking for as much as €80million for the 22-year-old.
Chelsea would surely benefit from a top young talent of this kind, but perhaps not at that kind of fee, though one imagines top clubs like United or Liverpool would not turn their noses up at this opportunity.
“Someone on the Chelsea board was not so convinced by the deal, not because of the player, because they like the player, but about the price,” Romano added. “West Ham were asking for €80million to sell Declan Rice, Chelsea were thinking maybe €40-50m, no more than this.
“So I think now we will see a new race next summer. Let’s see – Liverpool, Manchester United – at the moment nothing is advanced, he was really focused on Chelsea for his future, now he has to see what’s going on with the new manager, because he was convinced about Chelsea as the next chapter in his career, now without Lampard, everything is open.”