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Chelsea turned down £60m Declan Rice transfer, admits former Frank Lampard coach

Suraj Radia
Declan Rice, Arsenal, 2023/24
© IMAGO

Chelsea could have signed Declan Rice for £60 million according to former coach Jody Morris, who admitted that the Arsenal star was willing to join the club under Frank Lampard.

Rice made a £105m move to Arsenal from West Ham this summer and has been one of the standout performers of the season, while Chelsea have seen British record transfer Moises Caicedo struggle in a similar role.

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Chelsea had long-been linked with a move for Rice during Lampard’s first tenure as manager in 2019, with the England international having previously been released by the club aged 14.

Morris was part of Lampard’s coaching team and told the No Tippy Tappy Football Podcast: “I messaged Dec saying, ‘would you come back’, otherwise there’s no point Lamps going to have the conversations if Dec is still [not wanting to leave].

“And he went, “I’m a Chelsea fan, of course I would”. So that got put in motion and Lamps started speaking to him. And it was on.”

However, Morris revealed the transfer ‘got put on the back burner’ with Chelsea prioritising other transfers, although the fee would have been a fraction of the price Rice ended up leaving West Ham for.

“It didn’t end up going through, but at the time they were quoting around £60-65m, a steal for someone who could have easily been at the club for 10 years,” Morris said.”

Rice proving the difference between Chelsea and Arsenal

Rice has grabbed four goals and four assists for Arsenal this season and has been crucial to Mikel Arteta’s side in their push for the Premier League title.

Chelsea had strongly pursued Rice during Roman Abramovich’s time at the club but the club’s interest appeared to have cooled following the takeover of Todd Boehly.

Instead, the club have spent more than £250m on midfielders such as Enzo Fernandez, Caicedo and Romeo Lavia, although they have yet to find a rhythm with their costly acquisitions.

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