Chelsea to step up interest in West Ham star

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What a summer it's been for Chelsea.

After finishing fourth in the Premier League last term the Blues have certainly signalled their intent to mount a serious title challenge in the Premier League.

The additions of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva, Kai Havertz and Edouard Mendy have really heightened expectations in west London, and that means that the pressure facing Frank Lampard will increase as well.

Chelsea have spent around £222million according to Transfermarkt, and that's why their opening run of results in the league will be seen as far from good enough.

Four points from three matches is mid-table form, and something that will not be deemed as good enough should it continue over the course of the season.

It's exactly that which suggests why the club may not yet be done in the transfer market.

While the club's attacking reinforcements seem to have made them a force to be reckoned with, defensively the Blues appear to be a bit suspect.

Conceding three goals against recently promoted West Brom shows exactly this, and that's why Lampard is so keen to bring in a defensive midfielder.

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One player who has been heavily linked is Declan Rice.

The West Ham midfielder famously started his youth career with the Blues before moving to the East end at the age of 16.

David Moyes is unlikely to want to lose his star man, but it's claimed that Chelsea are preparing to test their resolve.

The Sun have claimed that the Blues are preparing an offer 'in excess of £40million' to try and tie up a deal.

It's thought that the Hammers value Rice at almost double that, but with claims that the club are struggling financially it seems that Chelsea are fancying their chances of agreeing a cut-price deal.

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GIVEMESPORT'S Phil Spencer says...

This is certainly going to be an interesting one to watch in the coming weeks.

Declan Rice is a player of undoubted quality and these links with a move to Chelsea just don't seem to be going away.

Valued at £44.55million by Transfermarkt, the West Ham man is not going to come cheap but these reports do suggest some room for manoeuvre.

David Moyes' side appear to be in decline and with reports of a financial struggle it may be the case that they're forced to cash in.

If that happens then West Ham are surely preparing for an incredibly difficult season.

For Chelsea, Rice may well be the final piece of the jigsaw.

They have looked a tad suspect in defence in recent weeks and perhaps the addition of a defence-minded midfielder is what would be needed to solidify the team somewhat.

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