Chelsea are set to step up their pursuit of West Ham’s Declan Rice as manager Frank Lampard seeks for defensive reinforcements, according to The Times.
Lampard obviously feels the heart of his defence needs bolstering, and he has identified Rice as a potential addition to the centre-back department.
Having initially started out at Chelsea’s youth setup, the 21-year-old switched to West Ham in 2013 and passed through the ranks, eventually reaching the first team after four years at the club. Though he was schooled as a centre-back, Rice has mostly been playing as a defensive midfielder for the Hammers. This season, he has made a total of 34 appearances in all competitions so far. However, Lampard is keen to revert him to his original role in the back line.
Rice is under contract with West Ham until the summer of 2024 with the club having an option of a 12-month extension, quite apart from which, West Ham aren’t willing to let him go. It suggests that Chelsea would have to really break the bank to get this deal done, though they have already showed signs of intent with the signings of Hakim Ziyech from Ajax and Timo Werner from RB Leipzig.
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