Chelsea have sensationally revived their interest in Declan Rice after new boss Thomas Tuchel gave the green light to move for the West Ham man, claims a report.
“Now you see him in the England squad and quickly you don’t see an England team without Declan in it,’ Lampard said. ‘We are fortunate to have him in England, West Ham are fortunate to have him,” Lampard told a Q&A for the Willow Foundation.
“He’s a leader and it is clear that he’s destined for great things. I have probably given it away with how I spoke about him. I think it’s common knowledge that I was a big fan of his.
“It didn’t happen for various reasons, but we brought in a lot of players in the summer. But I was a big fan of him. For understandable reasons, West Ham know the player that they have on their hands.
“I don’t want Declan to be in an uncomfortable position through this because all I see from him is absolute performance and desire to play for West Ham.
“They gave him the chance there and the choice will be Declan’s as the years go ahead, but his performances are great to watch.”
Lampard’s sacking seemingly ended Chelsea’s hopes over Rice. But now the Daily Telegraph say Tuchel is also an admirer of Rice and wants to pursue him.
The report claims Tuchel has quickly become a huge fan of the player, whom reports claimed Lampard was keen to turn into a centre-back.
The German coach has been so impressed with Rice that he has recommended him to transfer chief Marina Granovskaia.
Whether or not Granovskaia will sanction a move for the player, who West Ham rate highly remains to be seen. The Blues refused to meet West Ham’s £70m price tag last summer.
Hammers boss David Moyes has even said he believes Rice to be worth more than £100m
“For me, I have watched the prices of some players who have gone to clubs recently and they could not lace Declan Rice’s boots,” Moyes said recently
Two cheaper alternatives
“I don’t agree with the owners that Declan Rice is a £100m footballer… Far, far more than £100m. I look at the players who have joined some clubs from overseas and come in and had nowhere near the impact that Declan Rice would have.”
The report does suggest that Tuchel has two other cheaper alternatives to Rice on his radar.
Monaco’s 21-year-old midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni and Benfica’s Julian Weigl, 25,
SportBild reported that Weigl was looking for a way out of Germany last year. He even signed up with a new agent Pini Zahavi to engineer a move away.
Tchouameni meanwhile has been named the Young Player of the Year in Ligue 1 after impressing for Niko Kovac. He is believed to be rated around the £34m and would represent a far cheaper option that Rice.