Chelsea’s summer spending spree is set to continue as per reports, as they have been linked with a move to sign West Ham United’s Declan Rice.
Rice was, in fact, with the Chelsea academy until 2014, when he was released, and then went on to sign for West Ham United.
The Sun have claimed that manager Frank Lampard is a fan of the defensive midfielder, but the £80 million price tag that the Hammers have put on him, could dissuade the Blues.
The Blues believe that they can persuade West Ham to bring down the price, something they managed to do when they signed Ben Chilwell from Leicester City.
Rice’s current deal with the Hammers expires only in 2024. The 21-year-old is an England international, who has played seven times for the national team.
Who will Declan Rice replace in the Chelsea team?
Chelsea have been the busiest Premier League club in the transfer market this year, signing as many as five first-team players – defenders Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr – both on a free transfer, Ajax attacker Hakim Ziyech, striker Timo Werner, and left-back Ben Chilwell.
The Blues have been linked with a move (h/t Football.London) for attacking midfielder Kai Havertz as well, as they look to finally change the Manchester City and Liverpool duopoly at the top of the table.
These signings make Chelsea serious contenders at the top of the table, but it also means that a few players have to go out before more arrivals.
Declan Rice, who has been the latest to be linked with a move to the Blues, could be a very good signing as he is a young player with three Premier League seasons under his belt. But, his signing will mean that one or two midfielders in the Chelsea squad will have to leave.
N’Golo Kante and Jorginho have both been linked with moves away from Stamford Bridge ahead of the 2020-21 season. Rice could replace them in the Chelsea squad, and line up alongside Mateo Kovacic in midfield.
Rice could be a first-choice midfielder for the Blues if Kante or Jorginho, or both are sold. Ideally, the Blues need to plan well and keep both Kante and Rice, as they will need a deeper squad. Considering they are exceptionally good with their passing and ability to break play, they would be important players in the squad ahead of someone like Jorginho.
Chelsea defence will need better protection than what was given last season, as Kante spent a long time on the sidelines with an injury.
Rice’s arrival would foster a good battle for a place in the starting lineup, and Lampard can also play it safe and go with a two-man defensive midfield pivot, considering the quality of players he has to choose from in attack.