England: Declan Rice and Ben Chilwell show skills in training
Chelsea are set to have a quiet January transfer window after going all-out in the previous summer, but Frank Lampard and Marina Granovskaia still have one target in their sights – West Ham’s Declan Rice. Express Sport has taken a look at where the youngster could fit in at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are expected to be relatively quiet in the January transfer window.
The Blues forked out £250million in the previous window, bringing in the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Edouard Mendy.
They primarily focused on signing attackers, and are now overflowing with world-class talent throughout the side.
But despite their spending spree, they were unable to lure Rice away from the London Stadium.
The 21-year-old was one of Lampard’s top talents, with the Blues boss apparently eager to sign him due to his versatility.
Lampard was eager to reinforce his defence for this season, having shipped 54 goals last season.
Rice can play either as a centre-back or in the middle of midfield, and could be a long-term replacement for N’Golo Kante.
If he were to join in January, he would provide Lampard a fresh option in both positions, providing cover for Kante and Thiago Silva when required.
If Rice were to join, he would likely partner Silva at the back – potentially in a three-man central defensive unit.
He could play alongside him in a four-man defence, or replace one of Lampard’s existing midfielders.
However, given their success when playing Mason Mount, Kante and Kai Havertz in the middle of the park, it seems more likely that he’ll play in defence.
Rice’s key trait – his versatility – means he’ll likely shift from position to position without nailing down a consistent spot in the side.
Due to West Ham’s reluctance to sell, combined with their £73m valuation, a deal in January seems unlikely.
Instead, if a deal were to materialise, it would likely have to wait for the end of the season, giving the Hammers more time to line up a replacement.
Manchester United are also interested, according to reports, but Chelsea are still in the driving seat and could have the upper hand due to Rice having come through the academy in west London.
Chelsea’s predicted line-up if Rice is signed:
Mendy, Chilwell, Rice, Silva, James; Kante, Havertz, Mount; Ziyech, Werner, Abraham
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