Chelsea could sign Declan Rice for as little as £60million, it has been claimed. The West Ham star has been on the Blues’ radar for over a year, with interest dating back to Frank Lampard’s time in charge. And a blockbuster return to Stamford Bridge may be on the cards for the 22-year-old.
Rice is expected to start for England against Denmark tonight in their crunch Euro 2020 semi-final clash at Wembley.
But he’ll go into that game with speculation over his future rumbling on, with Chelsea and Manchester United both admirers.
West Ham have previously made it clear they want in the region of £80m to £100m to part ways with their prized asset, who is a vital part of David Moyes’ squad over at the London Stadium.
But Dean Jones, speaking on the Football Terrace Podcast, has suggested Chelsea could potentially sign Rice for cheaper than that – insisting the midfielder could demand to be let go should a bid of £60m come in.
“I don’t think Declan Rice would go handing in transfer requests,” said the Eurosport writer.
“I haven’t heard he’s likely to do that.
“I’m sure he’ll look to speak to the club but I don’t think he’s going to aggressively press for a move. Not yet at least, maybe at the end of the window.
“Chelsea will approach this carefully and they’re obviously not going to go in there and put down an £80million offer for Rice.
“But I think that if they were to offer £60m, then that seems a pretty fair offer in this market.
“And it gives West Ham a genuine question to answer. If you go in at £40m, obviously it’s going to be rejected.
“But if you go in at £60m, which will probably be rejected as well, Rice would then go to them and say ‘what do you want? What do you realistically want from me here?’
“Because £60m is a lot of money for West Ham.”
West Ham would loathe to lose Rice to Chelsea, having been raided by the Blues several times over the past two decades.
Lampard controversially quit Upton Park for Stamford Bridge back in the summer of 2001 and went on to become a Chelsea legend, winning three Premier League titles during a glittering spell.
And the likes of Joe Cole and Glen Johnson have also crossed the divide, too, irking the Hammers in the process.
West Ham legend Paulo Di Canio has talked up Rice, expressing a belief he’ll become one of the best midfielders in world football in the coming years.
“They were incredible and made them [England] nearly impossible to beat,” he told talkSPORT.
“He’s a fantastic guy because he’s a specialist in this position in midfield.
“They were incredible and made them [England] nearly impossible to beat.
“Rice became the third central defender against Ukraine and he sorted out any problems, he’s a very, very good player.
“It’s no coincidence that in England you hear about Chelsea interest.
“To have Rice at this time in his career with the prospects that he can become one of the best in his position with his physical presence. He’s one of the best.”
John Barnes, meanwhile, would like to see the England international join former club Liverpool.
“There have been suggestions that Declan Rice is a target for Liverpool and he would be a good fit for them. Liverpool like central midfield players who work hard,” he said.
“Declan Rice isn’t going to come in and score lots of goals, he’s not going to be creative, he’s not a midfield player like David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne or Ilkay Gundogan, but Liverpool don’t need that.
“The kind of players Liverpool need are players like Rice or Yves Bissouma, hard-working midfield players who get the ball forward, make tackles, win the ball and keep it quite simple.
“He’s similar to Jordan Henderson in that way. So if he wants to come to Liverpool, he has the right profile for them.”