After a summer’s worth of speculation didn’t result in any concrete action, Chelsea are now expected to make a move for Declan Rice sometime in the future, perhaps even as soon as January if the conditions are right.
According to ESPN, Chelsea will try to re-sign our former trainee in the winter transfer window ... if West Ham soften their stance. The Hammers managed to hold on to Rice by putting an exorbitant price-tag on his head and they have been extra keen to keep the 21-year-old after the backlash from Grady Diangana’s sale to West Brom.
Of course, a summer deal is the more likely scenario, but West Ham’s financial issues could have a part to play. They have signed Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal on permanent deals, while Craig Dawson and Said Benrahma arrived on a loan, the latter with a buy-obligation. West Ham will need to raise funds to pay Brentford the pre-agreed fee of £20m for Benrahma next summer, and they will also need to sign a centre back once Dawson returns to Watford.
Rice has not agitated for a departure, but West Ham know they could cash in if needed. Of course, Chelsea would need to make space in the squad, with Antonio Rüdiger and one of Emerson or Marcos Alonso likely to be offloaded in January.
The Rice-to-Chelsea story is far from over, and it will be the dominant rumor for the next transfer window or windows.