As one of the most exciting young holding midfielders in the Premier League, Declan Rice has drawn much interest in his game from afar. Seen as an excellent player with no shortage of technical quality and tactical understanding, Rice would make a fine addition for many clubs. However, despite being a former Chelsea academy player and a lifelong supporter, it is believed that the Blues will no longer pursue a deal for Rice in the summer.
The push for the deal was believed to have come from former manager Frank Lampard, who was sacked at the start of the week. The Englishman was keen to bring in his compatriot, seeing him as the ideal long-term addition to a Chelsea side that needs more solidity and grit. However, the board were understood to have seen Rice as a poor value investment proposition, and also were not keen to pay a premium fee for a player the club had previously released – simply put, it would have shown poor judgement on the clubs part.
So, it would appear that any move for Rice will be left to other clubs. This should alert his other suitors in England, including Manchester United, who are believed to be among the most interested parties. With United already short in the position and needing fresh blood, Rice could now be a ‘free hit’ for a club who believed they would miss out thanks to his desire to play for Chelsea.
With his boyhood heroes off the table now, though, it is likely that Chelsea will have to watch Rice play for others in the future. The aim to sign the England international has left Cobham along with the former midfielder in Lampard, creating the opportunity for other clubs to take advantage.
Will Declan Rice leave West Ham United in 2021?
It looks almost certain. Unless West Ham are able to grab one of UEFA Champions League slots, it is likely that Rice will have offers from clubs playing in that competition. A sound passer of the ball and a great reader of the game, it is believed that Rice would have interest from the majority of the ‘major’ clubs in England – among them Arsenal, Manchester United, and Manchester City. Liverpool were once credited with an interest, but it is believed that a mixture of first-team midfielders and promising young talent in the academy makes the Reds the least likely destination.
With United really the only ‘major’ club who will be in the Champions League who need a holding midfielder, it looks like Rice could wind up in Manchester after all. As late as last week, it was reported that United like all other clubs, were a distant second for Rice as he was desperate to play for Chelsea once again. The move now is off the table, though, making it much more likely that we will see Rice wear another badge in the 2021-22 season.
West Ham, though, will push to keep a player who has been an essential part of the first-team since he first broke through.