Chelsea will reportedly make a fresh approach for Declan Rice in January, but will need to make two sales first.
Frank Lampard is massive admirer of the former Blues academy starlet, and attempted to sign the West Ham man during the summer transfer window.
Lampard was given a £200million war chest after securing Champions League qualification last season. That led to the arrivals of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Edouard Mendy.
But the Blues boss wants to further strengthen the spine of his side by bringing in England star Rice.
The Athletic, however, claims that Chelsea will need to sell two first-team players in order to fund a move for £80m-rated Rice.
Hammers David Moyes previously warned interested parties that it would take ‘Bank of England’ money for any deal to happen.
And with four years remaining on Rice’s existing contract, there is certainly no pressure to sell their top asset.
Chelsea up with ante but not with Kante
The report does not state which two players would have to be sold, but N’Golo Kante is not one of them.
The Athletic claims that the France star would be pushed further forward by Lampard. Rice would then play as a defensive midfielder or at centre-back, where Lampard sees his future.
For their part, West Ham still want to tie the 21-year-old down to a bumper new contract. However, that prospect remains unlikely while Chelsea retain such a strong interest.
Rice, who has made more than 100 appearances for the Hammers, is viewed as the final piece in Lampard’s jigsaw.
He has seemingly solved his goalkeeping issues with the arrival of Mendy. And he wants Rice to partner Thiago at the heart of Chelsea’s defence.
A more solid base would then allow the Blues to unleash their full array of attacking talent, in the hunt for the Premier League title.