Ex-Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf has called on his former club to make an offer for West Ham captain Declan Rice.
The 24-year-old, who came through the academy at Cobham, has been a longstanding target for the Blues but Arsenal are said to be favourites to sign the player at the moment. Despite being underdogs, Leboeuf believes Chelsea should do all they can to secure his signature:
“Chelsea must try and sign Declan Rice. People have the right to make mistakes and Chelsea made a mistake when they got rid of him when he was younger. Rice is a fantastic player; he’s strong, clever, technically good, physically a monster, and tactically he can be very useful.”
“It would be a big change if Chelsea signed him because for the first time in a long time we would have someone very strong in the middle of the park. If you have the chance to sign Declan Rice, then you go and get him.”
One of the big issues for Chelsea is Financial Fair Play. They may need as much as £100m to sign Rice, and the only way they can free up the money is if they offload some unwanted players first.
It is certainly realistic to raise the necessary funds but any bid for Rice may have to wait until later on in the summer, giving Arsenal and other interested clubs a head start in negotiations with West Ham.
Do Chelsea need to sign Rice?
With the futures of N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic remaining uncertain, reinforcing the middle of the park is likely to be among the top priorities for new manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Giving Enzo Fernandez a partner who can hold the fort, while the Argentine is allowed to get further forward, is something that will have to be considered by the Blues’ recruitment department.