Rice was seen as an important target for Chelsea manager Frank Lampard this summer but they were unable to get the deal going.
Chelsea look set to continue transfer splurge
Chelsea were extremely active in the recently-concluded transfer window, spending £222 million and bringing in the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Ben Chilwell through the door.
However, the midfield has been identified as a weak zone for the club. The departures of Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek on loan to Aston Villa and Fulham respectively means that N'Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic, alongside Jorginho and the young Billy Gilmour, can play in central positions.
Rice, a product of the Chelsea youth academy, is seen as one of the best young midfielders in the English Premier League. The England international was arguably West Ham United's best player last season, making 40 appearances in all competitions.
The 21-year old is seen as the ideal midfield enforcer for Chelsea and is capable of playing as a centre-back if needed. He also enjoys a good friendship with Chelsea attacker Mason Mount, which could help in the move.
Chelsea are not the only club interested in Rice. Manchester United were credited with an interest a few months ago while Manchester City are also said to be keeping an eye on the player.
West Ham United reportedly demanded a fee of £60 million for their prized asset, with Chelsea unwilling to pay that amount. The Blues instead focussed on building a young attack while also bringing in veteran centre-back Thiago Silva and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to shore up the defence.
West Ham United completed the signing of Tomas Soucek from Slavia Prague this summer after an impressive loan spell. The 25-year old Czech Republic international could potentially be a replacement for Rice in midfield, with the Hammers resigned to losing him either in the winter or next season.
Rice is said to be extremely interested in a return to Chelsea and even tried to make the move happen in the transfer window, to no avail.
Published 07 Oct 2020, 19:04 IST