The 21-year-old has emerged as a transfer target for the Stamford Bridge outfit with Frank Lampard reportedly telling the Chelsea board to pay whatever it takes to land the England international.
Rice had spent a part of his developmental career at the Chelsea training academy before departing for West Ham in 2015 and since then he has grown to become one of the highest-rated young midfielders in the league as well as a full international with England.
Despite stating his interest in a move to Stamford Bridge, the Hammers are expected to stand firm in their resolution to keep their prized asset, which means that Chelsea could be forced to consider alternatives.
One such alternative has been identified as Marten de Roon, with the Atalanta man reportedly on the Blues radar.
According to the Express, the West London side would make another attempt to sign Declan Rice next year but if they are frustrated in their efforts yet again, they could turn their attention to Marten de Roon.
The Netherlands international would be out of contract next year and could be got on a free transfer which represents a cheaper option to Rice for Chelsea.
De Roon had initially played in the Premier League with Middlesbrough after signing from Atalanta in 2016 but his England sojourn ended disastrously when Boro got relegated after just one year.
He returned to Bergamo a year later and has since played a key role in the revolution under Gian Piero Gasperini, making 173 appearances in all competitions as La Dea have constantly punched above their weight.
Another option that could be available for the Blues in midfield is Nice midfielder Danilo, although it is understood that Declan Rice remains the number one choice.
Huge outlay in the market and increased expectation for Chelsea this season
Frank Lampard was widely lauded for his achievements with Chelsea last season but whereas he could be praised for achieving a top-four finish and getting to the FA Cup semifinal without spending a dime in the transfer market, expectations are very much different this season.
The Blues manager spent over £200m on new arrivals and big things are expected from Chelsea this season with a Premier League title challenge the barest minimum, as well as a trophy triumph.Published 10 Oct 2020, 21:25 IST