Frank Lampard is said to be interested in acquiring the services of Declan Rice. It’s reported that Chelsea’s all-time top goalscorer is looking to bring Rice across England’s capital.
The Englishman has already secured the signatures of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner this summer.
Rice was formerly a Chelsea academy player where he met long time best friend and Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount. Meeting up for a friendly kick about in London, the pair came under scrutiny for floundering lockdown rules.
🎙 Declan Rice on Mason Mount:
"I’d love to play with him at club level again. One thing we’ve always said as kids, we’d love to play with each other at club and international level. But obviously you never know because of different paths and things like that."#PremierLeague pic.twitter.com/9YuRpY2pLI
— Absolute Chelsea (@AbsoluteChelsea) April 11, 2020
Released by Chelsea at the age of 14, Rice joined West Ham. It was in East London where the Englishman came through the ranks.
For the Hammers, Rice has been a consistent performer in testing years at the London Stadium.
Since his debut in 2017 Rice has been a key player in both midfield and covering in defence for the Irons.
It’s said that Lampard wants to convert Rice into a central defender.
With Chelsea’s current array of talent in midfield, Rice would probably struggle for game time at Stamford Bridge.
Kalidou Koulibaly has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League. The West Londoners are in the market for a defender.
If Lampard does choose to sign and convert Rice, it’ll show his willingness to offer young English talent opportunities. In his first season in charge, the Englishman has given regular first-team football to academy graduates.
With the likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Reece James all getting regular minutes.
0 transfers, lost Eden Hazard and introduced numerous youth talents.
1 point off 3rd place, having beaten Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs this season.
Incredible. Frank Lampard. pic.twitter.com/SV0mgCa7Kl
— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) June 25, 2020
This season the Blues fielded their youngest ever average age for a starting XI in Premier League history at 24 years and 88 days.
Rice has already demonstrated his capability to play at centre half, and such a signing could be a masterstroke for the West London club. At £45 million, Rice is a significantly cheaper option to Koulibaly. Rumour has it, that it would take upwards of €80 million to prize him away from Naples.
The likes of America Laporte and Virgil van Dijk show that spending big money can certainly sure up a defence. Both Liverpool and Manchester City know the value that they bring to their respective defences. Defensive frailties have been present in the absence of both players.
Relatively cheap purchases have still made an impact in the Premier League as well. The likes of Joe Gomez and Calgar Soyuncu were shrewdly purchased from Charlton and Freiburg respectively.
Of course, saving such money is only worth it if Rice can meet the calibre Chelsea require at the heart of their defence…