Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has told his superiors to pay “whatever it takes” to get a deal for Declan Rice over the line, according to a report.
The Blues have already spent over £200million in recent months on six major signings. Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is the latest to arrive, with Kai Havertz the most expensive acquisition.
However Chelsea have so far failed to plug the defensive gaps that were apparent last season. After conceding 54 Premier League goals last term, problems still remain for Lampard.
As such, 90min claims the manager has ordered Chelsea to step up their hunt for West Ham midfielder Rice.
The 21-year-old left Chelsea’s academy for the Hammers at the age of 14 and has not looked back. Indeed he has become an established first-team regular both at West Ham and for England.
Several reports in recent months have indicated that he remains a top target for Chelsea, who Lampard has now reportedly told must pay “whatever it takes” to bring him in.
However Chelsea’s hierarchy – including owner Roman Abramovich – remain “unconvinced” about Lampard’s approach.
They have agreed to compromise though and are willing to back the boss one final time this transfer window.
It could take up to £90million, 90min claims, for West Ham to part with Rice. Hammers boss David Moyes has previously joked how he hoped it would take the “Bank of England” to lose him.
Moyes has also stressed that Rice could well be his club’s best midfielder and defender rolled into one.
Although Rice could yet form part of another deal between West Ham and Chelsea. Blues midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek is a firm Hammers target after he fell down the Stamford Bridge pecking order.
Merson slams Lampard for Barkley loan
Meanwhile Paul Merson feels Lampard has made a “mistake” by allowing Ross Barkley to leave on loan.
Like Loftus-Cheek, Barkley also found himself without game time and moved to Aston Villa for the season on Wednesday.
However Merson feels the decision could come back to haunt the Blues.