Chelsea: Blues have ‘already started laying’ groundwork for Declan Rice
Chelsea have ‘already started laying down some groundwork’ to sign West Ham captain Declan Rice this summer, according to reports.
The Lowdown: Rice attracting Chelsea’s interest…
The England international has been attracting interest from Premier League leaders Arsenal alongside the Blues as both clubs aim to further enhance their midfield options.
Despite the marquee signing of Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez last week, the west Londoners and owner Todd Boehly are thought to be targeting Rice heading into this summer.
The 24-year-old has been in brilliant form for an under-performing West Ham side, and with his contract slowly running down towards its June 2024 expiry, it’s entirely possible that he could be on the move this year.
The Latest: Chelsea have ‘already started’ laying Rice groundwork…
According to journalist Simon Phillips, writing for GiveMeSport, Chelsea have ‘already started laying down some groundwork’ to sign Rice ahead of a proposed summer move.
While there will be ‘serious competition’ from London rivals Arsenal, Phillips has also shared ‘more optimism this week’ that the Blues can land the 24-year-old.
The Verdict: Perfect player for Chelsea?
Rice will be expensive, with some reports suggesting that West Ham could be set to demand as much as £120m for the signature of their prized asset.
Homegrown tax and his status as a proven Premier League player will have contributed to such an eye-watering demand, but the figures suggest that the 24-year-old is justifying such a valuation.
As per WhoScored, the Three Lions ace stands out as West Ham’s best performer in the league this season and averages a higher rate of intercepted passes per 90 than anyone in their squad.
Named club captain last year after Mark Noble’s retirement, Rice has also gone on to add goals (one) and assists (two) in the top flight under David Moyes.
The colossal midfielder has been called a ‘force of nature’ by members of the press who hold him in very esteem following several years of heroics at the London Stadium.
Chelsea may well attempt to whittle down his £120m price tag but could still have to pay a marquee sum for such a brilliant player.