Chelsea are preparing an opening bid for West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice. According to reports from Eurosport (via Metro), Chelsea are keen to bring their academy product back to West London.
The Blues have been interested in Declan Rice for a long time. They first registered their interest in the midfielder last summer. In 2020, under the reign of Frank Lampard, Chelsea went on a major signing spree and many thought Rice would be a part of that transfer mania.
The Blues were coming off two consecutive transfer windows where they had not signed a single new player (one due to a ban imposed by UEFA). Chelsea went on to invest over £200 million and signed several key players to restructure their team.
Why Chelsea failed to sign Rice
Frank Lampard wanted the Blues to prioritize signing Rice but a transfer failed to go through. West Ham were stubborn in their stance of letting Rice leave for a hefty fee (around £75 million). Moreover, Chelsea's management felt the need to invest in the attacking third was more urgent than buying Rice.
Chelsea are keen to bid for Rice this summer
Lampard has now been replaced in the hotseat by Thomas Tuchel but Chelsea's interest in Rice lingers on. However, over the course of last season, the West Ham midfielder has had further upgrades to his profile as he helped the Hammers secure European football. Rice also capped off the season with a fantastic outing at Euro 2020.
Reports are now stating that West Ham want £100 million this summer to part ways with their prized asset. Chelsea have been alerted to the increase in Rice's transfer value but are still keen to test the waters with an opening bid in the range of £60-70 million.
Chelsea and Rice go a long way back
Declan Rice knows all about Chelsea after spending most of his youth footballing career at the West London club. He has also been a close friend of Chelsea star Mason Mount, right from their training days with the youth teams.
The Blues are interested in reuniting the two English stars this summer as Tuchel wants to add more versatility and strength to his midfield.
Why Chelsea should sign Rice
Although expensive, Rice could prove to be a smart signing for the London outfit. He can play as a defensive midfielder and a centre-back depending on the needs of his team.
At Chelsea, he can seamlessly fit in next to Jorginho or N'Golo Kante in midfield, or slide into the back three, should the need arise. Given his age (22), he is only likely to improve as the years roll on.