REPORT: Chelsea Edging Closer to Deal for Declan Rice

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Chelsea Declan Rice
ROMFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 22: Declan Rice (R) and Ryan Fredericks of West Ham United during a training session at Rush Green on June 22, 2020 in Romford, England. (Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United FC via Getty Images)

Chelsea may have finally found a solution to their centre-back problems in the shape of West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice. According to the Daily Mail and Metro, Chelsea believe they will get the deal done this summer for the former Blues academy player.

Chelsea Closer to Signing Declan Rice

Rice’s Flexibility

The Blues are “growing confident they will wrap up a £45 million deal” for Rice, according to the Mail. Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is looking to play the 21-year-old England international at play centre-half and lead his defence, the report continued.

More specifically: “Lampard wants Rice to sit in the middle of a back three, take on a significant leadership role, and be the basis for Chelsea’s title challenge next season,” wrote Metro.

Though he may not like it, West Ham manager David Moyes knows he’s likely to lose Rice. “Quite often when building a club you have to sell. I hope it’s not the case with Declan,” he said back in February.

In West Ham’s first game back from the Coronavirus stoppage, Rice started at the heart of defence against Wolves. On both WhoScored and SofaScore, he rated below a seven. Over the 90 minutes, he tallied two clearances, a blocked shot, an interception, and a tackle.

In the following game, against Tottenham, Rice returned to the midfield and put in a Man of the Match performance with a 7.9 on both WhoScored and SofaScore.

“Declan could arguably be my best centre-half and best midfielder so we have to try and see what we have got, who is fit and available and use him the best we can,” Moyes said following the loss to Wolves.

Since the restart, Rice has certainly played better in the midfield. But it’s been the same in previous years when he’s played in central defence as well.

Should Chelsea re-sign Rice, they’ll have a bit of flexibility with him.

Rice To Improve Chelsea Defensively

Chelsea have struggled in defence this year, mostly at centre-back. Lampard has yet to find the right combination between Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori.

Zouma is the only one to make more than 30 appearances in all competitions this year. Rudiger has made the least – just 18 – but the German has also missed significant time due to injury.

In midfield, Chelsea do not have any defensive options other than N’Golo Kante, who usually played wide right in more of a box-to-box role as opposed to a defensive midfield role.

Rice is a good tackler, and at times, challenges well, only collecting 10 yellow cards and no reds in his three years as a professional.

Frank Lampard could copy Manchester City’s manager Pep Guardiola tactics. The Spaniard loves to play central midfielders in defence. At Barcelona, he moved Javier Mascherano there.  With City this year, Fernandinho and Rodri have made the same move. However, those two were mainly due to injuries in the squad.

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