Chelsea are willing to tempt West Ham into selling Declan Rice by offering them two first-team stars in a dramatic trade ahead of transfer deadline day.
The Blues finished fourth in the Premier League last season to qualify for the Champions League. But they conceded 54 goals in the process, the same as 15th-placed Brighton and just 10 fewer than relegated Watford.
And their defensive problems have again been exposed this season. They lost 2-0 at home to Liverpool and were 3-0 down at West Brom inside 27 minutes before fighting back to gain a point.
It means despite spending big in attack over the summer, Frank Lampard’s hopes of turning Chelsea into possible title contenders are being compromised.
The man targeted to turn things around for the Blues is England international Rice.
The 21-year-old can operate at the back or provide a defensive shield in front of it. However, it’s believed that Lampard wants to play him as the dominant centre back in a back three.
And the Chelsea boss is reportedly desperate to get his man.
A fee of £75million has been mentioned as West Ham look to cash in on one of their leading lights.
That looks a stretch with Chelsea having already forked out over £200million in securing Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy.
Rudiger and Loftus-Cheek offered as Rice bait
But, with their own squad now bloated, one way of trying to secure the Rice deal is to send two Chelsea players the other way.
The Transfer Window Podcast are taking that line and report that the Stamford Bridge outfit have offered up German stopper Antonio Rudiger and England midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Rudiger is keen to move after losing his place. In fact, sources told TEAMtalk that the defender refused to play against Tottenham in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
The player is available on loan although Chelsea would be willing to sell him on a permanent deal. The Transfer Podcast suggest that Rudiger is less keen to do the latter.
Loftus-Cheek has struggled to find a place in Lampard’s starting XI and is keen to find first-team football ahead of next summer’s European Championships.
“Declan Rice is a good player, you’re right, and I’ve known Declan Rice for a long time, as he was in the Chelsea academy, but there’s no talk,” said the Blues boss.
The transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday night.