According to fresh reports, Chelsea will be back in pursuit of West Ham United’s Declan Rice in the January transfer window. Football Insider reports that Chelsea will need to sell two star players in order to meet West Ham’s asking price.
Rice, who turns 22 in January, has played every minute of West Ham’s 8 matches this season. The English defensive-midfielder already has over 100 Premier League appearances and can play in a variety of positions.
West Ham initially played Rice as centre-back when he graduated from their youth academy, but the Englishman was converted into a holding-midfielder later on. It is believed that Frank Lampard would be signing Rice to play as a centre-back in the Chelsea team.
The Blues spent over £220 million on players in the summer, but will not shy away from making a bid for Rice in January. The Hammers value him at £60 million and would be looking for a bid in that region. However, reports state that Chelsea needs to let go of at least two stars to be able to bid for Rice.
Chelsea looking to offload players for Declan Rice
Several players may be offloaded by Chelsea in the upcoming months to free up their wage bill and make room in their squad for new signings. Marcos Alonso, Emerson Palmieri, Jorginho, N’golo Kante, and Antonio Rudiger are expected to be sold in January for funds.
Alonso, Palmieri, Giroud, and Kante have been sought by Inter Milan boss and ex-Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, while Rudiger has linked with a move to rival Tottenham Hotspur after not getting enough minutes recently.
Talking to TalkSPORT earlier this month, former Spurs striker Darren Bent said that Declan Rice will be an upgrade on N’Golo Kante.
“…I just think over the past season and a half, he (Kante) has not played that role we know he is so good at, for whatever reason. Maybe Sarri (former Chelsea boss) was onto something because he said he wasn’t quick enough in possession so he didn’t play him there.”– Darren Bent on N’Golo Kante.
Declan Rice played for the Chelsea youth academy before making the switch to neighbors West Ham, and will be interested in a switch back to Stamford Bridge. While West Ham have publicly stated that Rice is not up for sale, they have supposedly given encouragement to Chelsea in private that a deal for the Englishman could be possible.
While some Chelsea fans feel Rice is unnecessary, Lampard would not be deterred from re-igniting his chase for Rice. The Chelsea manager wanted to sign Rice in the summer but a transfer fee was not agreed with West Ham.
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