West Ham United star Declan Rice has once again been linked with a big money move to Chelsea.

West Ham hero Rice started his career with boyhood club Chelsea.

But he joined the Hammers when the Blues released him as a 14-year-old.

It was something of a role reversal for the London rivals. Ironically Rice’s idol, John Terry, left West Ham – the club his family support – as a 14-year-old to join Chelsea, albeit by choice.

Rice has been one of West Ham’s best players over the last two seasons since breaking into the first team.

And it has not gone unnoticed elsewhere. Rice has been linked with mega money moves to Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea (Sky Sports).

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Rice links with Chelsea very real

Reliable West Ham insider ExWHUemployee confirmed every West Ham fan’s worst fear recently.

After Sky Sports claimed Chelsea are interested in signing Rice in the next window, ExWHUemployee confirmed the news and claimed Frank Lampard’s Blues were the club the Hammers should be worried about – read full story here.

So if Chelsea’s interest does materialise in the next window, should West Ham be pragmatic to make the best of a bad situation?

West Ham have been linked with a move for Rice’s fellow England midfielders Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Daily Mail) and Ross Barkley (Guardian) over the last few windows.

Cheek became frustrated at Chelsea under former boss Maurizio Sarri.

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Should Hammers be pragmatic to lure Loftus-Cheek or Barkley?

He would undoubtedly get more chances in Lampard’s youthful setup. But youth is no guarantee, just ask Barkley, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori.

 

The truth is Lampard has a surplus of midfield options. And if West Ham did agree to sell Rice to Chelsea, there is no way he, Loftus-Cheek, Barkley, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Billy Gilmour can work.

So should West Ham be pragmatic and use Chelsea’s interest to their advantage, as painful as it might be to see Rice go?

West Ham could insist on Loftus-Cheek or Barkley being included in the deal.

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Swap deals the new currency, West Ham could take advantage

After all a new report (ESPN) has claimed NBA-style swap deals will be huge in the next window given the dire financial situation facing most clubs in the wake of the global health crisis.

It would soften the blow of West Ham losing their star. And with Tomas Soucek on board, it could be argued the Hammers need a central midfielder in the mould of Loftus-Cheek or Barkley more.

Rice would hold the value in any deal. So West Ham would also bank some much needed cash for other signings in the process.

Claret & Hugh claimed last week that West Ham will be focused on signing a striker partner for Sebastien Haller in the next window.

But the report warned players may have to be sold to raise money for other signings.

That will force David Moyes to be creative.

Using Chelsea’s interest to bring in another top English talent while boosting his transfer coffers seems a sensible way to go.

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