Chelsea are reportedly preparing a fresh bid for Declan Rice and will try to prise the midfielder from West Ham in the January window.
Rice, 21, was heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge over the summer and Blues boss Frank Lampard is an admirer of the England international.
But Chelsea – who spent over £220million on players during the last window – struggled to raise funds for the £60million transfer as they were unable to offload a number of fringe players.
Nonetheless, the Blues remain set on bringing Rice from east to west London and will return to the negotiating table with a January bid, according to The Athletic .
Rice last extended his contract with West Ham in December 2018 and is tied down at the London Stadium until 2024, with the option for another year.
The defensive midfielder, who can also play in central defence, has scored three goals in 117 appearances for the Irons.
It remains to be seen where Lampard would play Rice should his much-touted move to Chelsea materialise, but the player made it clear he prefers to play in midfield last month.
“I’ve now had two full seasons there at West Ham and obviously the start of the season playing in the middle,” Rice told West Ham’s official website.
“In every game that I’ve played so far for England (11 caps) I’ve played in the middle. So, for sure, my short-term future, of course, I see myself playing in the middle. I love playing there.”
Rice added: “I’m always needing to improve on stuff, for sure. When I come here that means building up from the back, offering myself off the ball, like the top players do – little angles off the ball to play bounce passes.
“There are definitely things I need to work on but, for sure, I see myself as a holding midfielder for the near future, but I’ll never rule myself out of me going back either in back three or a back four. I’m confident to go back there and slot in, for sure.”