Declan Rice has been absolutely superb for West Ham this season. In fact he has been for the past three years. And the 21-year-old’s current form has seen him linked with some massive clubs including the likes of Chelsea. Frank Lampard wants to bring him to west London, according to the Sun.
David Moyes will surely be desperate to keep the brilliant youngster at the London Stadium, however.
The seven-capped England international began his youth career at Stamford Bridge, before being released when he was just 14.
Since then, however, Rice hasn’t looked back. The talented youngster has forged a name for himself at elite level football.
Rice has made 103 appearances for the Hammers, racking up two goals and three assists in the process (Transfermarkt).
In 93 Premier League appearances for West Ham, the seven-capped England international has racked up 233 tackles, 144 interceptions, 170 clearances and 633 ball recoveries (premierleague.com).
Those numbers do not lie.
Rice is truly top class already, in spite of his tender years. And something that makes him even better is the fact that he can operate both in the central midfield and centre-back positions.
In fact, the Sun claims that Chelsea boss Frank Lampard wants to sign the 21-year-old West Ham man and use him as a central defender.
Big Lampard hint?
The Blues manager may have just hinted that signing Rice actually isn’t on his agenda this summer.
The 42-year-old spoke to reporters and opened up on the type of defender he will be looking to bring to Stamford Bridge this summer, as quoted by TEAMtalk:
“We’ve looked at set-pieces this season. When we came into the club we looked at the stats from last season. Last season, we were bottom of the league defending set-plays, and second bottom in attacking. I really don’t like to talk about my own playing days, but we didn’t work much at all on set-pieces. And there were a few reasons – mainly John Terry, Gary Cahill, Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack and Branislav Ivanovic. So you’d stick it in an area and they would defend it or score goals.”
Lampard then went on to draw similarities with Liverpool and Virgil van Dijk:
“Similarly with Liverpool, I remember a lot of talk about them and set-pieces a few seasons ago. They signed Virgil Van Dijk and he heads out everything that comes in the box. So there’s a huge relation to personnel. When you look at who you might bring in with the balance of the squad, in the modern day, it is certainly something to take into account when you’re looking at recruitment.”
Lampard’s comments seem to suggest that he is after a physically imposing centre-back – someone who is commanding in the air, this summer. A Virgil van Dijk type defender if you will.
Declan Rice has almost everything, but he isn’t that kind of player. When the 21-year-old plays in defence, he is a silky, ball playing defender. He isn’t short by any means, but aerially commanding isn’t one of the first attributes you would reel off when describing the West Ham star.
So perhaps Chelsea won’t move for the Hammers ace this summer.
And if they don’t, West Ham might just be able to keep hold of him for another year at least. If they avoid relegation this season of course.