West Ham transfer rumours: Fabrizio Romano provides update on Chelsea's interest in Declan Rice

West Ham midfielder and Chelsea target Declan Rice clapping the fans

Fabrizio Romano has claimed that Chelsea are still keen on signing Declan Rice ahead of the transfer window opening next week.

What has Fabrizio Romano said about Declan Rice?

Chelsea have been linked with Rice in recent transfer windows, dating back to when Frank Lampard was in charge of the side. 

Thomas Tuchel has since replaced Lampard, but Romano has stated that Chelsea's interest in Rice has not waned despite the change of manager at the club.

Clarifying the situation on The Here We Go Podcast, Romano said: “Declan Rice is still on the list of Chelsea. I can confirm that they are still in talks with people close to Declan Rice. He was one of the first targets for Frank Lampard, now there is Tuchel but the club are still thinking of moving on Declan Rice.

“Let’s see what West Ham will answer about the price. So, we are still at the start of the talks but Chelsea are still thinking on Declan Rice as a potential new signing as a midfielder. There is still no agreement, still nothing advanced, but on the list there is the name of Declan Rice.”

Would losing Rice be a blow to West Ham?

Absolutely.

Rice has become an integral part of West Ham's squad, and captained the team on numerous occasions in 2020/21. He missed six consecutive matches in April and May due to a knee injury, with the Hammers losing three of those games. The team missed out on Champions League football by two points in the end, but things may have been different if Rice had remained fit.

West Ham's assistant manager Kevin Nolan certainly believes that, and he also claimed last month that Rice is "England's most important player" ahead of this summer's Euros.

The 16-cap international has made his mark for West Ham and on the world stage with England, so it would be a bitter blow for the Irons to lose him at this point.

Would Rice swap West Ham for Chelsea?

Possibly.

After all, Chelsea recently won the Champions League and are flying under Tuchel. It would be easy to see why Rice would want to join a team who are clearly heading in the right direction.

His friendship with Mason Mount could also be a factor in seeing him move to Chelsea. The pair were born just four days apart and have risen through the ranks with England. Rice may want to play alongside Mount at club level as well.

However, it should not be forgotten that West Ham have just enjoyed an excellent season themselves, finishing sixth to secure themselves a spot in next year's Europa League. David Moyes' men finished a mere two points behind Chelsea in the table, and have made great progress over the last 12 months, meaning Rice may want to continue his journey at the London Stadium for now.

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In which season did West Ham wear this kit?

How much could Rice cost Chelsea?

Romano pointed out that it would be fascinating to see what West Ham's asking price for Rice will be this summer. It seems unlikely that Chelsea will be able to sign him cheaply.

Back in March, Moyes declared that Rice is worth at least £100m in the current transfer market. Transfermarkt disagree with Moyes' valuation, as they feel that Rice is worth £58.5m, but West Ham appear to be in a strong negotiating position as things stand.

The 22-year-old still has three years left on his contract, indicating that the east London club do not need to sell Rice any time soon if they do not receive a suitable offer, and that Chelsea will have to pay a significant fee in order to land their man in the coming months.

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