If Declan Rice ends up leaving West Ham at the end of the current campaign, as he very well might, Chelsea and Manchester United will both be among the frontrunners.
However, there’s reason to believe the Blues hold the upper hand when it comes to coaxing the England midfielder away from east London.
Here’s what West Ham United will find themselves up against while doing battle with Frank Lampard’s team, and why the Blues have the upper hand as things currently lie.
Rice found himself at West Ham after failing to make the breakthrough at Stamford Bridge, with the west London outfit releasing him as a 14-year-old. It understandably hit him hard, having been born in south-west London and having joined the club’s academy aged just seven.
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He may well feel he has a point to prove, as has been the case with other returnees like Jordi Alba at Barcelona, Marco Reus at Borussia Dortmund and Paul Pogba at Manchester United.
There’s nothing he’d like more than to rub it in the faces of those who didn’t think he had the goods to succeed with the club.
Friendship with Mason Mount
Rice and Mount were good friends in the Chelsea youth system, and that friendship is still there today.
You can see from all the footage of the pair together that they’ve got a great connection, and who wouldn’t want to see that put into action on the pitch?
Chemistry between two players who have an almost telepathic understanding is the sort of thing money can’t buy, and it ought to be an easy sell for Rice.
Lampard’s English nucleus
If you’re a young English talent, Chelsea feels like the ideal place to pitch up.
Frank Lampard has given first-team chances to plenty of youngsters, with Mount, Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James and Fikayo Tomori all playing more…