Chelsea: Blues still in the race to sign Declan Rice
West Ham midfielder Declan Rice remains a summer target for Chelsea and a host of top Premier League clubs, according to a new transfer report.
The Lowdown: Chelsea eyeing midfielders
The England international’s future has been a major talking point of late, with a summer exit from the Hammers looking almost certain after he rejected a long-term deal.
Chelsea have long been seen as one of the contenders to snap up Rice at the end of the season, as Graham Potter looks to make huge changes to his midfield, currently pursuing a deal for Enzo Fernandez.
Fabrizio Romano reported on Monday that the Blues are locked in negotiations with Benfica over a deal for the Argentine World Cup winner, but it looks like they are still keeping a few eggs in the Rice basket as well.
The Latest: Blues battling PL rivals
According to Football Insider, the Blues are still ‘keeping close tabs’ on Rice, with the Englishman rejecting a number of new contract offers from West Ham.
Fellow Premier League heavyweights Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United are all mentioned in the same breath, though, so it will be a fierce battle to sign him.
The Verdict: An Enzo alternative?
Rice is exactly what Chelsea could do with this summer, with the Hammers favourite a huge influence both on and off the ball, averaging a 94.3% pass completion rate and 2.2 interceptions per match at the 2022 World Cup.
The fact that he was a boyhood Blues supporter could certainly work in the club’s favour, should nostalgia take over, as well as reuniting with great friend Mason Mount.
The £60,000-a-week-earning Rice has been described as ‘magnificent’ by Gary Lineker and he is someone who could be a dominant mainstay of Chelsea’s midfield for around a decade, so he is certainly a viable target for the summer if the Fernandez deal falls through.