The Blues have been strongly linked with a move for Rice, a former Chelsea academy player, as they look to bolster their defensive options. The Englishman has been an incredible figure for the Hammers and managed to play every single minute of their 2019/20 Premier League campaign.
However, with David Moyes' side demanding up to a staggering £80m for their prized asset, Lampard is said to be weighing up his options.
Soumare a cheaper alternative to Chelsea target Rice
As per English outlet Mail, Chelsea have earmarked LOSC Lille midfielder Soumare as a more affordable option to bolster their midfield as opposed to Rice. The Blues have spent over a whopping £200m this summer to bring in seven players, due to which paying West Ham's demands of £80m for Rice is said to be unlikely.
Soumare, a France U21 international, has been on the radar of several Premier League clubs over the last year or so. Reports suggested last summer that Newcastle United failed with a bid of £35m to sign the 21-year-old as well.
Given that the former Paris Saint-Germain academy midfielder's contract is set to run out in 2022 and that Soumare is said to be open to a move away, he could be available for a considerably lower price than Rice.
Lille president Gerard Lopez has already confirmed that he would sanction Soumare's departure should he want to part ways with the club.
Speaking earlier in September regarding the future of his 21-year-old star, Lopez explained;
"In terms of Boubakary [Soumare], as we play with two in the midfield… The door is open if he wants to leave, but for the others we will have to discuss. We have had important offers from clubs where he did not want to go."
The 48-year-old added,
"All three parties have to agree for a transfer to occur… He’s quite impatient to play & that’s normal. It shows ambition. He will undoubtedly leave the club, the door is open. We have concrete offers. We will talk in the coming days."
Chelsea have already completed the purchases of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz, Malang Sarr, and Edouard Mendy this summer as part of one of football's most historic transfer windows.
With the transfer window open until the 5th of October, it remains to be seen if Lampard will be able to bolster his options in defensive midfield.