Declan Rice is Frank Lampard’s main target for the remainder of the transfer window | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images
Exclusive – Frank Lampard has told Chelsea to pay ‘whatever it takes’ to ensure midfielder Declan Rice becomes a Blues player before the transfer deadline, although it could take as much as £90m to prise him from the clutches of West Ham.
Rice came through the Chelsea youth system but was released as a 14-year-old. However, the defensive midfielder has since gone on to make over 100 appearances for the Hammers, establishing himself in the England setup in the process.
Rice is a long-term Chelsea target | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images
Chelsea have been linked with a move for their former academy player throughout the transfer window, and it seems the head coach is now pushing to get the deal done before the deadline on Monday.
A source has told 90min that Lampard wants the Chelsea hierarchy to pay ‘whatever it takes’ in order to land the England international – even though it could require a bid of up to £90m to persuade West Ham to part company with the 21-year-old.
Some of the Chelsea top brass are unconvinced about forking out such a substantial figure, but Lampard is desperate to add Rice to his ranks and those in charge at Stamford Bridge are eager to give the Chelsea boss what he wants.
Not the result or performance we wanted last night, but a very proud moment to have made my 100th premier league appearance. Hopefully many more to come? pic.twitter.com/KiiMuADpSK
— Declan Rice (@_DeclanRice) September 13, 2020
Rice has made West Ham aware that he would love the opportunity to return to Stamford Bridge, and Chelsea are open to the possibility of sending a player to the London Stadium in order to get the deal over the line.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s name has been mentioned after he and teammate Ross Barkley were informed by Lampard that they could move out on loan. The latter has already taken this option up and joined Aston Villa for the season.
However, according to the Telegraph, Chelsea have been assessing alternatives to Rice, with Blues scouts sent to watch Atletico Madrid’s defensive midfielder – and long-time Arsenal target – Thomas Partey in recent months, whose release clause stands at £45m.
Chelsea’s bid for Rice may depend on whether they can raise funds through the sales of fringe players.
Rice is good friends with Chelsea’s Mason Mount | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images
Bayern Munich have made another approach for Callum Hudson-Odoi, and the Blues will also weigh up offers for Antonio Rudiger, who is being targeted by Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham, Tiemoue Bakayoko, who has been linked with Napoli, and Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri, who have both attracted interest from Inter.
West Ham owner David Sullivan is understood to have contacted members of the Premier League’s top six to inform them that Rice is not for sale – which could force Chelsea to look elsewhere.