Chelsea icon insists club must sign Declan Rice in January to become title challengers

Thomas Tuchel slams Chelsea schedule

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Florent Malouda has told former club Chelsea to sign West Ham midfielder Declan Rice in order to become title challengers. The 23-year-old continues to be linked with a move to one of the Premier League’s biggest clubs after starring for the Hammers.

Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool have all been linked with the defensive midfielder, however no such move has yet materialised.

And while Rice is expected to remain at West Ham in the current window, Malouda has urged the Blues to consider signing the England international.

“I think [Chelsea] have already started preparing for next season with the new contract of Thiago Silva, looking to keep [Antonio] Rudiger, and thinking about replacements for players that might leave,” Malouda told William Hill. 

“Every top team need to strengthen and look at the market to try and become the best team.

“I don’t think there’s too many players who will improve Chelsea right now, so they should wait for players like [Erling] Haaland and [Kylian] Mbappe…those players are the type of players who will improve them.

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“I think Declan Rice could be interesting, not just because he was there before, but he’s a young player who has the experience of delivering for his club and national team so he could be a good option for Chelsea. He [Rice] delivered at Euro 2020 and has continued that form with West Ham.

“Adding players will depend on contract situations and what’s available. Ousmane Dembele [of Barcelona] is also interesting as he’s free in the summer, but would he suit the Premier League?

“I think to strengthen they don’t need lots of players, just players who will add quality. The squad has balance, so it’s just about adding players who will bring more of this.

“It’s too early to assess these players because you want those who are performing at the top level for their teams at that moment.

“Chelsea’s DNA is to bring in the best players and challenge for trophies, so they should look at doing that.”

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Thomas Tuchel’s side were beaten 1-0 by Premier League champions Manchester City last Saturday courtesy of Kevin de Bruyne’s strike second-half strike.

And while the title race looks as good as over, Malouda feels there is still reasons to be hopeful for Chelsea this season with silverware still on the cards.

The Blues will contest the Carabao Cup final with Liverpool at Wembley next month after beating Antonio Conte’s Tottenham 3-0 on aggregate in the semi-final.

“When you look recently when Chelsea played against City, the game was close,” Malouda said.

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“It was a great game! Chelsea had opportunities to win, but when you compare yourself to the best in the country, I think Chelsea are of the same calibre of City… but they are efficient and took their chances. 

“That’s the difference. City played like champions, and you can see players stepping up when the game is close and that’s why they will be champions this season.

“I think with the quality that there is in the Premier League, finishing in the top four is good… but when you have the ambition to become champion then second and third is disappointing, of course.

“You have to be focused and win at all costs, and that’s what City have done.

“I hope when the full Chelsea squad is available that will help, and they will be prepared to say the season is not over.

“They can still win a treble which would be great.”

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