Reports from Daily Star claim that Chelsea are ready to off-load Italian midfielder Jorginho, and see Rice as the right man for the future of the club.
Jorginho started a few games towards the end of the season for Chelsea, but was out of favour (h/t Express) before that, and could well be shipped out.
But is Rice a good option for Chelsea, and can he replace Jorginho?
Declan Rice and his style of play
Having spent eight years with the Chelsea academy, Rice switched to West Ham in 2014, broke into the first team in 2017, and has been a mainstay since then, even though West Ham changed more than a couple of managers in that time.
Rice made 34 league starts in the 2018/19 Premier League campaign, and started every game for the Hammers last season, registering three assists and a goal.
Playing in a struggling side, Rice has put in some consistent performances in the middle of the park in the last couple of seasons, and managed to break into the national side as well.
A defensive midfielder by trait, the 21-year-old’s biggest strength is his understanding of the game. He is adept at making crucial interceptions around the penalty area, and cuts off passing lanes in the middle of the park.
He rarely gives up on a chase, is happy to run himself to the ground every game and is a player who would certainly make Chelsea’s midfield stronger.
Can Rice replace Jorginho?
The two are different type of players. Jorginho is a more all-around player, who is capable of starting attacks from the back. Rice can do the same to an extent, but is more defensive-minded and will play a different role in this Chelsea side.
The likes of Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and even N’Golo Kante can play in advanced roles if Rice can do a good job in the middle of the park, and protect the defence.
Jorginho, for all his ability on the ball, has been found wanting at times because of the pace of the league, and isn’t the most adept defensively.
Chelsea’s attacking options are right up there with the best in the league but at the back, they are susceptible and signing Rice might be the first step Lampard takes, to address the defensive issues at the club.
Rice, a homegrown talent, will add youth, quality and different dimension to Chelsea’s midfield, which could be crucial for the club to compete in more than one competition.
The West Ham man could cost £65m, which is a bit steep. But given his age and what he will bring to Stamford Bridge, this could be a game-changer for Chelsea.
Rice will find it hard to turn down Chelsea considering they can offer him Champions League football and the opportunity to win silverware. It remains to be seen if they can match West Ham’s asking price for the player.