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Chelsea have no ‘regret’ over letting Declan Rice go, claims head coach Frank Lampard

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It’ll just cost us a bit more to get him back

West Ham United v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Chelsea face West Ham on Monday, so one of the most obvious pre-match storylines is regarding Declan Rice, former Chelsea youth player, current Chelsea transfer target ... and future Chelsea player?

There have been more than enough rumors regarding that probable eventuality, with the most recent being Rice switching agents to a Chelsea season ticket holder, his dad!

West Ham are of course unlikely to let him go easily — nothing’s changed in that regard, especially as they’re having a pretty good season! — though Rice is in no apparent hurry to sign their latest contract extension offer.

In any case, until the 21-year-old rejoins Chelsea or retires from football, these stories will continue apace.

What is however equally undoubtable is that Rice has done really well for himself since being deemed no quite good enough at Cobham, and that’s what current Chelsea boss Frank Lampard noted when he was asked about that situation.

“He’s a fantastic player for West Ham and England so fair play, because his journey there after leaving Chelsea and going to West Ham is a good story to hear.

“There are lots of stories like that and it shows the player’s strength of character. In terms of from our end, I certainly wouldn’t use the word ‘regret’ - our academy is one of the best in the world and you look at our first team now with the players that we have produced who are in and around that squad.

“It’s not easy. It’s not an exact science to pick players but the academy staff do brilliantly here. Declan Rice has given himself personal credit for having the great start to the career that he’s had at West Ham.”

-Frank Lampard; source: Sky Sports

We of course wish Declan all the best — once a Blue, always a Blue! — except on Monday, when we hope his night ends in glorious failure and disappointment. And after that, we can worry about his future, be that as a Hammer, as a Blue ... or a Red Devil (as the surely entirely unbiased Manchester Evening News suggest)?