All things considered it hasn’t been a disastrous season for Frank Lampard with many tipping Chelsea to not finish in the top 4 and gain entry to the Champions League. A lot of fingers have pointed to the form of Chelsea’s first choice keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga who registered the worst save percentage in the league this season, however fingers also need to point back to the defensive back line who have been exposed many times this campaign. This is why when going transfer window shopping, Lampard will need to consider centre-back options. This article will focus on the possibility of Chelsea swooping in on current England International and West Ham centre-back Declan Rice.
West Ham haven’t exactly set the Premier League on fire this season, avoiding the dreaded relegation drop by 5 points finishing in 16th. The much-needed survival was in many ways down to the form of 21-year-old Declan Rice who has captured the attention of many fans, and in particular Frank Lampard. Whatever centre-back combination Lampard has gone with this season there has been a tendency for the Chelsea defence to switch off at set pieces and corners. There are no centre-backs who command from the back line, although Azpilicueta’s instructions can often be heard from a right back position. A game in particular where Chelsea were exposed from set pieces was the agonising 3-2 loss against West Ham where Tomas Soucek often capitalised on the sloppy play and poor communication.
Perhaps the best centre-back this season for Chelsea has to be Kurt Zouma who at times has shown calmness on the ball, with no apparent need to dive in recklessly to challenges, even though with this being said mistakes have still been made from the 25-year-old Frenchman. However, a player who has dipped massively in form this campaign is Antonio Rudiger, joining from AS Roma in 2017 for a transfer fee of £31 million at first the German international looked like the leader Chelsea needed, paired with Gary Cahill he flourished, but this season he has missed the mark badly. Declan Rice has not missed a minute of this season’s Premier League campaign under David Moyes and would add a much-needed stability to what is a shaky defence. Chelsea is Rice’s boyhood club and the Blues are currently linked with the West Ham star with a rumoured bid of £70 million.
Chelsea are said to be the favourites to sign the young talent, with David Moyes needing to sell players to fund his transfer targets, and with Declan Rice’s close friendship with Mason Mount, there are definite signs pointing to the the 21-year-old sealing a move to Stamford Bridge. With Lampard’s Chelsea securing Champions League qualification next season, this could also be another factor to convince Declan Rice to make the move. So far the confirmed transfers this summer have been Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner with a deal on Bayern Leverkusen’s central midfielder Kai Havertz said to be at a stage of almost being confirmed.
Many fans can grow restless with regards to transfers with their club over the summer, and being a Chelsea fan is no different. However, things are looking positive and if Chelsea can get the signature of Declan Rice it would certainly add a much-needed quality to that back line. Rice could also add leadership to the team which has been an issue for The Blues this season.