Declan Rice was certain he would seal a switch to Chelsea during the summer transfer window, according to transfer insider Dean Jones.
What's the latest news involving Rice?
Manchester City also held an interest in the England international during the transfer window, while cross-city rivals Manchester United were told it would take a bid in excess of £100million to prise Rice away from the London Stadium.
Despite being able to hold onto the defensive midfielder, West Ham suffered a blow when Rice rejected two contract offers prior to the transfer window shutting last week.
Reports suggest, amid continued interest from both Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Liverpool, Rice will only entertain committing his future to the east Londoners by signing a fresh deal if a release clause is included.
Rice's stance on the situation comes after being left frustrated at his current employers' £100million valuation, which potentially deterred suitors from making a move.
His West Ham deal runs until 2024, but the contract has the option of being extended by another 12 months.
What has Dean Jones said about Rice?
While there was interest in Rice from various Premier League clubs, transfer guru Jones has revealed the 22-year-old had his heart set on a return to Stamford Bridge.
Rice was not the only former Chelsea ace linked with a move back to west London after originally being discarded by the Blues.
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Romelu Lukaku returned to Stamford Bridge a decade after first moving to Stamford Bridge thanks to sealing a club record £97.5million move from Inter Milan last month.
On Rice's situation, Jones told GMS: "He thought he was going to Chelsea. There was a real belief during the Euros that the Chelsea offer was going to come along and he would probably be a Chelsea player for this season.
"It just never really opened up. Maybe the pursuit of Lukaku hindered that. It's possible that's true. Rice was never an absolute priority."
How has Rice performed this season?
Rice has played every minute of the Premier League campaign so far and also showed his attacking capabilities by recording an assist in West Ham's 4-1 win over Leicester City last month.News Now - Sport News