Thomas Tuchel on possibility of new Chelsea contract
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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel would play Declan Rice in midfield despite Frank Lampard previously wanting the West Ham star to be a centre-back, according to reports. The Blues have reignited their interest in the England international with the transfer window creeping closer. But they’re not alone in admiring the Hammers star, with Manchester United also keen.
Chelsea wanted Rice a year ago, with Lampard pushing hard for his signing.
And the former Blues boss was left disappointed when Roman Abramovich declined, insisting he’d have to make do with the players already at his disposal.
Chelsea are now keen on Rice again, however, having watched him shine as West Ham secured Europa League qualification.
Tuchel himself is a big admirer and, according to The Athletic, plans to play the midfielder in his natural position.
While that shouldn’t be a surprise, it’s in stark contrast to what Lampard had in mind.
The 42-year-old, who is currently being linked with the likes of Everton, Celtic and Crystal Palace, wanted to play Rice at centre-back instead.
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But if Chelsea win the race for Rice, it’s likely he’ll be deployed alongside N’Golo Kante in the heart of Tuchel’s side instead.
There is, however, plenty of work that needs doing when it comes to the potential signing of the 22-year-old.
West Ham won’t want to sell their prized asset to a rival, especially having lost the likes of Lampard, Glen Johnson and Joe Cole to the Blues over the years.
And then there’s the player’s price tag, with David Moyes already making it known they’d only listen to offers in the region of £100million.
Should Chelsea decide to pay that amount, it would make Rice the costliest signing in their entire history.
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Kai Havertz and Kepa Arrizabalaga currently share that mantle, costing £72million each upon arriving from Bayer Leverkusen and Valencia respectively.
And whether Chelsea are able to land their man remains to be seen, especially with Tuchel’s priority at the current moment in time being a new centre-forward.
Tottenham’s Harry Kane is of interest, though their chances of prising him away from Daniel Levy and the Spurs top brass seems remote.
Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland is also on their radar, yet he looks increasingly likely to stay at the Westfalenstadion for another year.
And Chelsea look poised to miss out on Romelu Lukaku after he stressed he’d be staying at Inter Milan.
“Yes, I am staying,” he said.
“I feel good at Inter. I’ve already had contact with the man who normally becomes our new manager.
“Maybe I shouldn’t say that yet … but it was a very positive conversation. There’s also the challenge of doing it again [winning the league].”
Regarding Rice, Moyes said last week West Ham had no plans to sell.
And the midfielder himself said recently that this was the best Hammers side he’d been a part of, too.
“I can say first-hand this is probably the best West Ham team I have been a part of in the four years I have been in the team,” said Rice.
“The unity, the love the lads have got for each other, the banter on a day-to-day basis and then when you’re on the training pitch and then matchday the seriousness to go out and get a win.
“The mentality has just changed completely and I think you can see that on the pitch.
“We are fighting for each other and giving 100 per cent, regardless of how the results are going to go.
“We know when we come off that pitch that we have given everything.”
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