Declan Rice is a long term Chelsea target, and we fully expected the Blues to restart their chase for him once their new ownership is in place.
But it’s not going to be easy – he has a long tie left on his contract and West Ham are asking for £150m for him as it stands.
The Athletic today write that this is putting off a lot of clubs who would otherwise be keen on him.
Their piece on the subject outlines the situation exactly as we feared:
“Manchester United and Manchester City are also in the running [with Chelsea] but all three clubs have not made any contact yet and are set to wait for the 23-year-old’s contract to run down further before making an attempt.”
Chelsea – no matter who owns them – are just not going to be offering £150m for Rice. They, like the two Manchester clubs, will surely test West Ham’s resolve with a smaller bid, but assuming it’s rejected, they will then have to bide their time and wait for another year to pass, gradually diminishing the Hammers’ leverage.
Assuming that’s true, the question then becomes – what does Thomas Tuchel want in the interim? Do we spend on a midfielder this summer knowing that Rice could be coming to us a year or two down the line? Or do we keep our powder dry for a big Rice bid next summer?
It will be very interesting to see the Todd Boehly group’s mentality here.