About a month ago, ex-Chelsea youth player Declan Rice was linked with a fateful return to Stamford Bridge. The 21 year-old was released by Chelsea at the age of 14, following which he joined the West Ham academy. He’s since gone on to make 90 senior appearances for the Hammers and also make his England debut.
More recently, Rice spoke of his desire to pair up with his BFF Mason Mount at some point, and according to a report by The Telegraph, it could well be as soon as next season.
West Ham are preparing for a major overhaul of their squad to tailor it to David Moyes’ needs. Rice is one of the most valuable players in the team, and thus might used to bring in some much-needed funds in the pandemic-affected transfer market.
Manchester United have also been credited with an interest in the defensive midfielder, though it’s difficult to imagine any club meeting his £70m valuation, despite his young age and home-grown status. However, due to the exceptional circumstances surrounding football at the moment, swap deals could become much more commonplace, and Chelsea could offer one or both of Ross Barkley and Michy Batshuayi — two players in whom West Ham have expressed an interest in the past — in order to reduce the asking price.
Declan is proficient both in midfield and in defense, and his versatility would be an attractive proposition for the club seeing that Lampard switches between four-man and three-man defenses regularly. Of course, Rice’s arrival can only be facilitated if one of our defensive-minded midfielders leave, but with N’Golo Kanté and Jorginho both linked with moves, one can never know.
PS: The report also talks about West Ham willing to sell just about anybody to fund their squad revolution, and if Felipe Anderson and Sebastien Haller become available, Chelsea could do a lot worse than make a bid for either or both of the two.