West Ham may be forced to sell Chelsea target Declan Rice this summer, according to reports.
Frank Lampard has outlined Rice as a top target for Chelsea as they continue to reinforce their squad. The Blues have already signed attackers Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, and are now seeking strength in defence.
Lampard’s plan is to sign Rice from West Ham and convert him to a defender. The 21-year-old has played as a centre-back before, but has mainly featured in midfield for the Hammers.
At Chelsea, though, he could complete his transition back into defence. And the Stamford Bridge outfit have now been boosted in their pursuit of him.
According to The Sun, West Ham may have to sell Rice to afford signings of their own this summer. David Moyes wants to strengthen his squad after they narrowly avoided relegation in 2019-20.
To fund moves for his targets, however, the Hammers may have to sacrifice Rice. With an asking price of around £70m, selling him would give Moyes sufficient funds for signings.
Losing their player of the season would be far from ideal for West Ham. But having lost out on the funds they would have generated from fans being able to attend matches, they need to stump up cash from somewhere if Moyes is to get the reinforcements he wants.
Brentford forward Said Benrahma and QPR’s Eberechi Eze are among the players Moyes wants to add. He is also prioritising a new defender – but just selling the likes of Manuel Lanzini, Felipe Anderson and Fabian Balbuena may not be enough.
That may give Chelsea a big opportunity to land Rice. The England international previously played in their academy, before being released at the age of 14.
However, the Blues have been monitoring his progress recently, waiting until the end of the season to make their move. With West Ham now under pressure to sell before the new campaign, Chelsea’s patience may have paid off.
MOYES CAN’T STOP OFFERS FOR RICE
Moyes recently admitted that while he wants Rice to stay, every player has a value that would see them sold if met.
The Hammers boss said in July: “I’m confident he will be here [next season] because he’s under contract. But like anything else, whatever club you’re at even the biggest clubs sometimes sell their best players because they get the right value.
“My intention is not to sell Declan at all, my intention is to keep him. But we can’t stop other clubs making offers, but the truth is we’ve had no offers or nothing. Nobody has come to us.”