Chelsea is not the first club in the world to face a situation like Declan Rice. The West Ham midfielder was a Chelsea youth player but at the age of 14, he was released by the club. Rice has worked incredibly hard and now he is considered to be one of the best young English talents.
The West Ham midfielder is also close friends with Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount. Chelsea legend John Terry is his idol and he also once revealed that when he released from the academy, Terry had a 45-minute conversation with him on the telephone to motivate him.
Only at the age of 21, he has captained West Ham and he also has more than 100 Premier League appearances. The Englishman is a regular for his country as well. Rice generally operates in the centre of the park but he is also capable of playing as a centre back.
He can move the ball around very well, which is essential for a defensive midfielder in the modern game. Also, he is 6’1 and physically strong which helps him to deal with the tough nature of the Premier League.
West Ham offer a bumper deal to fend off interest
According to Daily Star, West Ham will offer him £120,000-a-week. Rice currently earns £60,000-a- week and with each passing season, he is developing into a very good player. The midfielder’s current contract expires in 2024.
The Hammers want to offer a one-year extension to him. This way they will increase his wages and extend his contract till 2025. Even this summer, Rice was heavily linked with a return to Chelsea. The Blues spent more than $200 million in the transfer window year.
However, West Ham looks determined not to be bullied by Chelsea. Frank Lampard’s side could return for him in the January transfer window. Also, they look a little short in the middle of the park. The likes of Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus Cheek left the club on loan to Aston Villa and Fulham respectively.
It means that Chelsea only has four central midfielders this season. Jorginho, Mason Mount, N’Golo Kante, and Kovacic. Last season there were reports that Lampard wants to play Rice as a centre back. The Englishman can also play as a defender.
Should Chelsea pursue Rice or should they look for other targets?
Despite the current financial crises West Ham will not willing to reduce their price tag for Rice. It is unlikely that they will do so in the future. Even if Marina Granovskaia manages to negotiate a lower price, it is still likely to be a big price.
The question that arises is Declan Rice worth the big money? If Lampard intends to play him in a pivot role then it would not make any sense to spend that much money on him. There are players who are better than Rice in that position and they will cost less than him.
In the pivot role they already have Jorginho and his deputy Billy Gilmour looks like a real deal. Denis Zakaria was linked with Chelsea and Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder is similar to Rice. Also, he will cost less than the Englishman.
The Swiss international also has experience of playing European football. Thus it would be better if they play him as a centre back. In that position, Rice can be an excellent long term solution for the club. There is a lack of quality options in the transfer market in that position.