Declan Rice transferring to Chelsea 'makes sense' says pundit
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard would love to sign West Ham star Declan Rice and reportedly views the England international as a centre-back in the long run. The England international has impressed for the Hammers this season. He was previously wanted back in the summer but a move to Stamford Bridge ultimately failed to materialise.
Chelsea have been inconsistent in the Premier League this season, winning seven of their 16 matches.
And Lampard is eyeing more signings now the January transfer window is open, despite shelling out over £250million on new faces back in the summer.
According to The Sun, Rice remains on the Blues’ radar as they look to win the title for the first time since 2017 – back when Antonio Conte was manager.
And Lampard sees him as the ideal long-term centre-back partner for Kurt Zouma.
Rice has made his name as a midfield for West Ham but, should he return to west London, then he’d be in line to play in a different position.
The report says Chelsea could make a move in January to sign the 21-year-old, especially with their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League currently being in the balance.
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Yet West Ham would likely be stubborn negotiators given the youngster’s importance to David Moyes’ side.
Furthermore, the Hammers wouldn’t like to sell yet another prized asset to Chelsea.
They sold Lampard to their fierce rivals back in the summer transfer window of 2001, with the Blues boss moving in a £11million deal.
And, since then, the likes of Glen Johnson and Joe Cole have crossed the divide.
Meanwhile, speaking earlier in the year, talkSPORT pundit Darren Bent expressed a belief that Rice would be a great signing for Chelsea.
And he also claimed he’d be an upgrade on N’Golo Kante, saying: “For me, Declan Rice would be an upgrade.
“Not only because he can play that role really, really well, he can get about the pitch, has got good energy, reads the game really well.
“Not only that as well, he can drop into centre half, that’s two positions he can play.
“N’Golo Kante has been a superb footballer and still is a great footballer. He won the Premier League with Leicester, went to Chelsea and won the Premier League and won the World Cup back in 2018.
“I just think for a season-and-a-half now he’s not played in that role we know he is so good at.”
Lampard claimed recently that Chelsea don’t regret letting Rice go as a youngster, despite wanting him back now all these years on.
“He’s a fantastic player for West Ham and England so fair play, because his journey there after leaving Chelsea and going to West Ham is a good story to hear,” he said.
“There are lots of stories like that and it shows the player’s strength of character.
“In terms of from our end, I certainly wouldn’t use the word ‘regret’ – our academy is one of the best in the world and you look at our first team now with the players that we have produced who are in and around that squad.
“It’s not easy. It’s not an exact science to pick players but the academy staff do brilliantly here.
“Declan Rice has given himself personal credit for having the great start to the career that he’s had at West Ham.”
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