As a lifelong Chelsea supporter and one of the best hybrid defensive players in England, Declan Rice seems like a no-brainer for Chelsea. However, despite the fact that he is well-rated by assessors at Stamford Bridge, issues have stopped a move from taking place. The primary issue is that Chelsea are well-stocked in the positions that Rice plays, making it hard to find space on the playing or wage budget to include him. The likes of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante both play in his position, making it hard to find space for Rice.
Also, the fee that is being asked – in excess of £50m – has been beyond Chelsea whilst making other commitments. Over £100m was invested in Timo Werner and Kai Havertz in the summer of 2020; the Blues couldn’t really afford to go deep on another major signing at this period of time.
For that reason, there has been a tardiness to making an official approach for Rice official. Despite having played for their academy in the past, the England international seemed pretty much a standout from the day he made his debut for current club West Ham United. And with coach David Moyes making it clear that bids wouldn’t be welcomed, it is unlikely that Chelsea will be able to make a deal happen anytime soon.
This has provided the Blues with a problem, though – now, other clubs are very keen on making a move. Manchester United and City have both been credited with major interest, though it would be fair to say that interest is yet to pay off. Rice, it is believed, would much rather remain in London than make the move to one of the northern powerhouses; does that still make Chelsea the favourites to land him, then?
Are Chelsea running a risk with missing out on Rice?
As a top defensive talent and a player who has shown growth season-on-season, Rice has continued to find suitors across Europe. His continental and intelligent game is mixed with some classic English zeal in the tackle, making him a very intriguing prospect for many clubs. Despite being willing to wait for Chelsea, if reports are to be believed, can Chelsea expect him to wait forever?
It is unlikely. If West Ham don’t make European football and Rice has a strong UEFA European Championships, might he decide that it is actually time to move on and try out a new chapter in his career?
And if so, would he still be as hesitant about making a move to one of the Manchester sides? It is unlikely. Rice has made clear in the past that his ambition is to play at the highest level possible, and West Ham are unable to offer a consistent path. If Chelsea don’t try and land him by the summer, they might find the players desire to wear the blue kit is outbid by his desire to test himself at the highest level of European football.