Speaking on a recent episode of the Here We Go podcast, Fabrizio Romano discussed Chelsea’s attempts to sign West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice this summer.
Last season, the £49.5 million-rated 21-year-old highly impressed for the Hammers, starting all 38 of the club’s Premier League fixtures, over which he scored one goal, provided three assists and averaged a WhoScored match rating of 7.01/10 – ranking him as the club’s fourth-best performer in the league.
However, at one point this summer, it appeared as if there was a possibility that Rice could have been on his way out of east London, with the side that released him as a schoolboy, Chelsea, reported to be keen on a reunion with the 21-year-old.
Frank Lampard’s interest in Rice was one topic of conversation on a recent episode of the Here We Go podcast, in which Romano discussed Chelsea’s attempts to sign the defensive midfielder.
He said: “The decision [by] Chelsea this summer, in general [was], ‘we are going for the top targets – Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Edouard Mendy, [Ben] Chilwell, Thiago Silva – [we’re going] for our top, top targets. If we can’t sign them, we prefer to [keep] our [current] players’.
“So, their decision about the midfielder [in the latter stages of the transfer window] was, ‘we’re going to try again for Declan Rice’. They did [this], because they were talking with West Ham. West Ham always said, ‘no, we are not selling the player’. Chelsea said, ‘OK, [we’ll keep] Jorginho, [we’ll keep N’Golo] Kanté, [we’ll keep] our players.'”
Do you expect Chelsea to try and sign Rice again in January?
From Romano’s comments, it is clear that the journalist is of the belief that Rice was indeed a “top target” for Chelsea this summer, however, that West Ham were firmly against selling the midfielder.
Although, if Rice was indeed one of Lampard’s priorities in the transfer window, it is not hard to imagine the manager retaining his interest in the 21-year-old going forwards.
And as Chelsea did not sign a defensive midfielder this summer, there remains the possibility that Rice could still be high on the list of targets for the club in the January window, or perhaps even next summer.
So, while West Ham can enjoy Rice for a little while longer yet, in our opinion, it would not be surprising to see Chelsea test West Ham’s resolve for the midfielder at some point in the future.