Chelsea have registered their interest in acquiring a key cog in West Ham’s midfield, with one possible boost hinted at as to why the transfer could materialise, according to the latest report.
England international Declan Rice is the man in question, with Blues boss Frank Lampard reportedly keen to add to his defensive midfield options with the signature of the 21-year-old.
Rice spent nine years in Chelsea’s youth academy setup between 2006-2014 before departing to join the Hammers.
Since making his first-team debut in 2015, Rice has quickly established himself as a crucial component in their midfield, with his performances catching the eye of England manager Gareth Southgate.
Seven senior caps quickly arose after making his senior England debut in 2019, and Rice’s development has made him a frequently speculated target of Man Utd.
However, the latest report from Sky Sports states that Chelsea will look to secure his services, with the Blues described as being ‘keen to strengthen with a defensive midfielder if the transfer window goes ahead this summer and are admirers of the England international.’
The switch would be difficult to pull off, with Rice’s contract with the Hammers having four years remaining with an option for an extra 12 months. However, the article hints at one aspect that might increase Chelsea’s chances of landing the holding midfielder.
Rice is close personal friends with Chelsea playmaker Mason Mount, with the Blue recently forced to apologise for breaking the self-isolation policy while playing football with Rice due to teammate Callum Hudson-Odoi contracting the Coronavirus.
With N’Golo Kante at the club and Jorginho experiencing a renaissance under Lampard, a starting berth for Rice would not appear to be guaranteed, should the potential move materialise.
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s pursuit of a Leicester City star could see the world record transfer fee for a defender matched, or even surpassed.
The Blues are said to be ‘growing increasingly confident’ of snaring their man, but with four years remaining on his current deal and the Foxes on course for Champions League qualification, the figures involved could be huge.