Chelsea are still keen on signing West Ham midfielder Declan Rice this summer, but will use him as a centre-back if they are able to secure a deal for the £45million-rated star.
That’s according to a report in The Sun, which claims Frank Lampard wants Rice to lead his new-look defence, as a deal for Leicester City star Ben Chilwell is still being eyed.
Chelsea have already splashed the cash ahead of the summer transfer window and appear to be making the most of the relaxed Financial Fair Play rules in place.
The Blues have forked out a combined £90m for Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, but it appears Lampard’s squad revolution is just getting started.
The boss wants Kai Havertz to follow those two, and has now reportedly set his sights on a new defender.
Chelsea have had problems at the back this season, but Lampard appears to have found an answer to that problem.
The Sun claims Chelsea are confident they will be able to secure a deal to sign Rice – a former Blues academy talent – from West Ham this summer.
However, if they do manage to sign him, they will play the defensive midfielder at his natural position of centre-back.
Rice appears to be keen on a move back to Stamford Bridge, and remains good friends with Mason Mount.
And Lampard apparently wants him to bolster his new-look defence and play in the middle of a three-man back line.
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The player himself is open to switching positions, according to The Sun, and West Ham know they will face a monumental task if they decide to keep him, due to his desire to move away.
Rice played as a centre-back in West Ham’s 2-0 defeat to Wolves and put in a solid performance, with Hammers boss David Moyes admitting he could well be their best midfielder and defender.
The boss did, however, insist he wants to keep the youngster at the club and has no plans to let him go.
Moyes said: “Declan could arguably be my best centre half and best midfielder so we have to try and see what we have got, what is fit and available and use him the best we can.
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“We know he can give us something else in midfield but he showed he is also defensively sound when he goes into the backline.
“He has improved so much, going forward for himself and for us it is a great thing to have.”
“He is a West Ham player, I want him to stay a West Ham player for a long time and our intention is to stay in the Premier League so nothing is crossing my mind about being in another league.”
Meanwhile, the same report from The Sun claims Chilwell is still wanted – despite Leicester’s hefty demands – as a new left wing-back option.
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