Chelsea ‘definitely in race’ for £100million-rated star as Arsenal battle could meet familiar end

Declan Rice, West Ham United, January 2023

Chelsea will “definitely be in the race” for Declan Rice in the summer, reports one journalist, as Arsenal could suffer a familiar fate.

Rice is one of the most coveted midfielders in Europe. Other than Jude Bellingham, he’s probably been the most in-demand Englishman in the world over the past few seasons, too.

That he is English makes him all the more desirable to Premier League sides. He knows the league well, having played in it for more than five years, and he takes up a spot as a home-grown player.

The fact he’s one of the league’s best midfielders is obviously the main reason he’s so in demand. Big names such as Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United have all been linked with the West Ham skipper.

The Hammers have held firm in their valuation of him in the past – north of £100million. As yet, that has meant that nobody has come knocking.

However, it has always looked like West Ham has been a stepping stone for Rice. A player of his quality needs to be playing for a big club, and it doesn’t look like David Moyes’ side will be that in the immediate future.

They were making tracks over the last couple of seasons. Indeed, a seventh-placed finish last season along with a Europa League campaign that saw them reach the semi-finals followed a sixth-placed finish in the 2020/21 campaign.

However, the Hammers are currently in a precarious position – 16th in the Premier League. That, coupled with Rice’s contract ending in 2024, means now is the right time to sell and use the funds to rebuild.

Chelsea ‘definitely’ in the race for Rice

Given no side has actually made an attempt to sign Rice yet, nobody has really been in pole position. However, whispers that Arsenal have taken the lead have grown of late.

Indeed, reports suggested Rice was leaning towards choosing the Gunners as his next club. Since then, he has reportedly given his word to the north London outfit that he will join them.

That won’t stop Chelsea, though. Their persistence in the transfer market has been even stronger under the ownership of Todd Boehly than it was when Roman Abramovich was at the helm.

Since Boehly bought the club, they have shelled more than £400million on importing players.

A new report from journalist Simon Phillips has suggested that they will be making attempts to sign Rice come the summer transfer window.

“It is one that Chelsea are definitely still going to be involved in, but the decision will all be down to Declan Rice and I think a lot will depend on what happens between now and the end of the season, with Arsenal with Chelsea, what other clubs come in,” he told GIVEMESPORT.

“You know, Rice has made it clear he wants to play Champions League football and at the moment, Chelsea are sat in 10th position in the league, but they’ll definitely be in the race, it will be a race and I don’t expect Rice to make any decisions on that anytime soon.”

Arsenal battle could end in familiar fashion

Arsenal looked almost certain to sign Mykhaylo Mudryk this summer before Chelsea swooped. The forward’s social media posts were essentially pleas for the Gunners to come and get him.

However, he ended up at Chelsea, in a deal which was worth around £88million. As such, if reports of Rice giving his word to Arsenal are accurate, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll land him.

It would be no surprise if their London rivals managed to usurp them yet again, given the money they’d surely be willing to spend.

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