Reporter: Chelsea FC want to sign 21-year-old from Premier League rivals

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Chelsea FC manager Frank Lampard wants to sign West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice, according to reporter Ian McGarry.

The West Ham star has been regularly linked with a potential big-money transfer over the past couple of seasons.

The England international has been touted as a target for Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Chelsea FC have also been credited with an interest in the West Ham youth graduate following his excellent performances for the Hammers.

Rice has a close friendship with Chelsea FC midfielder Mason Mount, perhaps giving the Blues a slight edge in the race to sign the Hammers star.

Now, Daily Record reporter McGarry has claimed that Chelsea FC are interested in a swoop to sign the versatile West Ham midfielder.

McGarry said on the Transfer Window podcast: “Another young player who’s making waves and is attracting attention is Declan Rice, the West Ham player, who started his time as an academy player at Chelsea and indeed is very much fancied by Chelsea with regards to a return.

“Our information at the Transfer Window podcast is that Frank Lampard’s feeling about the player is that he could become potentially a commanding presence in Chelsea’s defence, which of course would be taking him out of the defensive midfield role he currently fills for West Ham United, but he did start as a centre-half and has both the physique and ability to play there.

“But of course, if you’ve got a player who can play in two positions then why not?

“He’s currently under contract until 2024 at the London Stadium but he’s only 21, has seven caps already for England, again he fills all of those kind of box-ticking factors that we talk about with regards to young, English, talented, good with the ball at his feet, reads the game well etc.

“We’ve talked a lot about Lampard’s desire to have a vocal presence in his defence which he feels is lacking.

“Obviously he played for his entire time at Chelsea with John Terry who was very much that ‘Captain, Leader, Legend’ phrase.”

Rice has made two assists in 29 games in the Premier League this season to help the Hammers battle against relegation to the Championship.

The former Republic of Ireland international has netted two goals in 102 games in all competitions.

The 21-year-old spent eight years in the Chelsea FC youth academy before he moved to West Ham in 2014.

Rice has been close friends with Mount since his time in the Chelsea FC set-up, before he transferred to their London rivals.

The West Ham midfielder has made seven appearances for the England national team.

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