West Ham United endured a mixed summer in the transfer market.
Deals to sign Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal were completed early doors and delivered a sense of optimism to supporters of the club.
Those moves were ultimately followed up by deals to bring in Craig Dawson from Watford and Said Benrahma from Brentford.
In terms of incomings it was a decent summer, but for outgoings it felt like a disaster.
Several high profile players left the club over the summer including Felipe Anderson, Jack Wilshere and Albian Ajeti, however the most controversial was the departure of Grady Diangana to West Brom.
But while his exit was a blow, it would be nothing compared to losing Declan Rice.
The midfielder is seen as West Ham United's prized asset, but it seems that Chelsea are circling as they eye up a potential move.
One man who knows the ins and out of the Irons more than anyone is club insider @ExWHUemployee, who claims that Frank Lampard is the main driving force behind the interest.
Speaking on The West Ham Way podcast, @ExWHUemployee said: “I’ve been offered money to sell Chelsea news because my sources are as reliable as my West Ham sources.
“Lampard’s job is not massively under threat but potentially under threat if [their form] continues and he is a massive reason that Chelsea want Declan Rice.
“So, in a way, we’ve got to hope that Lampard, I mean, I know West Ham fans probably would anyway, but I think hope for Lampard to get the sack.
“Obviously, I can’t promise that the manager that comes into Chelsea then wouldn’t want Rice but, at the moment, Lampard is the main reason that there [is] such heavy interest from Chelsea.”
GIVEMESPORT'S Phil Spencer says...
This is a link that just doesn't seem to be going away.
Declan Rice is undoubtedly a top level player, and in my opinion, he deserves to be playing for an elite club.
Having played for Chelsea as a youngster I'm sure the midfielder would need little persuading to head back to west London.
It would just be a case of convincing the Hammers to let their star man go.
Valued at £49.5million by Transfermarkt, Rice would cost a substantial amount of money and given his importance to David Moyes' side, he would not be allowed to go on the cheap.
It'll be interesting to see when or if this deal happens, but it certainly appears to be a rumour that won't go away.
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