Frank Lampard wanted Declan Rice at Chelsea

Stuart Telford
Stuart Telford
  • 13 Jul 2023 10:32 BST
  • 3 min read
Declan Rice, West Ham 2021/22
© ProShots

Declan Rice is about to complete a £105 million transfer from West Ham to Arsenal, but he might have been turning out for Chelsea if Frank Lampard had got his way.

Rice will be announced as Arsenal's record transfer imminently - his move surpassing the £72m they paid Lille for Nicolas Pepe in 2019 - once his medical is complete.

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The England star's arrival will bolster Arsenal's midfield, and the Gunners' gain is very much Chelsea's loss.

READ: Rice to Arsenal: what's causing the delay?

Rice was in the Blues' academy between 2006 and 2014, and he remains friends with Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic - both of whom have now left, for Manchester United and AC Milan respectively.

He was released at 14 and made his name at West Ham, where he won the UEFA Conference League as captain last season, and while Chelsea missed the chance to promote him to their first team from their academy, they could have brought him back before now.

Lampard: 'I wanted Declan Rice'

"When I was at Chelsea before, I wanted to bring in Declan Rice," Lampard told Steven Bartlett in an exclusive interview with the Dragon's Den star.

"I was like 'this kid is going to be the captain of Chelsea for the next 10 years.' It didn't happen. Anyway, it is hard to dissect people's work."

READ: Arsenal fans go CRAZY as Leao pictured training with Rice

Lampard was Chelsea manager between 2019 and 2021, and again, on an interim basis, last season after Graham Potter had been sacked.

He was backed in the signings of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and Edouard Mendy at the end of his first season, but reportedly fell out with then Chelsea's co-director Marina Granovskaia the following summer, with moves for Rice, Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang and James Tarkowski shot down.

Chelsea could have done with Rice this summer, with central midfielders N'Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic leaving for Al-Ittihad and Manchester City respectively.

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