Chelsea have identified three players they are willing to offload in order to fund a bid for Declan Rice in January, according to reports.
Chelsea spent more than any other Premier League club in the summer transfer window. They brought in the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech for big sums.
One target that got away, though, was Rice. Chelsea released the player from their academy back when he was 14, but he has since become a key player for West Ham and England.
Therefore, the Blues want to bring the midfielder back to Stamford Bridge. They could even use him as a defender.
Chelsea failed to agree a fee with West Ham to sign Rice in the summer. Their interest remains, though, and they could go back with a new offer in January.
However, a report from Football Insider warns that Chelsea will not be able to afford Rice without making some sales first. They will need to sell at least two first team players – and three names are at risk.
According to the report, Chelsea will listen to offers for Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso* and Jorginho.
Rudiger has fallen out of favour under Frank Lampard, and was linked with a departure late in the summer. However, he remains on the books at Stamford Bridge – but is yet to play in the league this season.
Alonso was also tipped to leave Chelsea after the arrival of Chilwell. He ultimately stayed, but has not convinced since – and Lampard even reportedly showed his anger at him in front of the squad during half-time of their 3-3 draw with West Brom in September.
As for Jorginho, the midfielder could have returned to Italy in the summer. However, Maurizio Sarri’s departure as Juventus boss complicated those plans.
There were links with the likes of PSG and even Arsenal, but nothing materialised. He has three goals and one assist from seven Premier League appearances in 2020-21.
Rice has ‘elite’ potential
When January comes, Chelsea will be ready to listen to fresh offers for the trio, and could allow two or all of them to leave. Then, they would be able to afford Rice, whom they feel has “elite” potential.
The West Ham star will be 22 in January, making him a bright prospect for the future but also a player who already has plenty of Premier League experience. Chelsea also believe he is capable of making the step up to Champions League level.
West Ham are insisting the player is not for sale, but the two clubs have been in talks to suggest different ways a bid could be structured.
Previous reports have indicated that Rice will be worth £80m, a figure Chelsea cannot afford without letting some players go. It now appears they have moved a step closer to deciding who those to leave will be.
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