Chelsea can afford Declan Rice, even at absurd price tag

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 24: Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea (left) and Declan Rice of West Ham United during the Premier League match between Chelsea and West Ham United at Stamford Bridge on April 24, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Visionhaus//Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 24: Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea (left) and Declan Rice of West Ham United during the Premier League match between Chelsea and West Ham United at Stamford Bridge on April 24, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Visionhaus//Getty Images) /

Chelsea’s takeover has been completed as the ownership torch is passed from Roman Abramovich to Todd Boehly and his consortium. The Blues have new senior leadership for the first time in 19 years, but if recent reports are anything to go by, it doesn’t seem much will be changing as it relates to their transfer strategy. Boehly has reportedly given Marina Granovskaia and Thomas Tuchel around £200 million to work with this summer. The team has a lot of needs, so it’ll have to find a way to get creative in the transfer market, even with such a large sum.

Luckily, Granovskaia has a long history of making the most of the money she’s given. There are ways around having to stretch the money given to her, especially considering some of the options available to Chelsea this summer. This means that the Blues can make two or three luxurious additions without breaking the bank or going over the loose £200 million cap set by the new owners. After missing out on Monaco’s world class midfield prospect, Aurelien Tchouameni, Chelsea should not wait around for Declan Rice to fall into its lap. Instead, the Blues need to fork over the asking price for the elite defensive midfielder this summer.

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Chelsea can still afford Declan Rice if the Blues pursue a transfer this summer

West Ham has named its price to sell its prized possession: £150 million. While this is the Hammers’ stance in public, it’s believed that they would accept a bid of £80 to 120 million if it should come across David Moyes’ desk. Rice has made it clear to his current club that he will not sign a contract extension. The England international’s value will drop over the next 12 months given the fact that he’s got just two years left on his current deal. If there was a time for West Ham to cash in—as opposed to letting him walk for free or at a highly discounted rate—it’s now.

Rice wants to play Champions League football, it’s as simple as that. Despite the Hammers’ best efforts over the last few years, they have not been able to crack the top four in the Premier League or top the Europa League to secure qualification. Chelsea is the favorite to eventually land Rice given his links to the reigning Club World Cup winners. Rice came up through the Blues’ academy before eventually being released and joining West Ham. He is also incredibly close with a few of Tuchel’s players, namely his best mate, Mason Mount.

Chelsea needs a new midfielder or two, two centerbacks, wingback cover and maybe some reinforcements in attack though. How can they pull off an eight-or-nine-figure transfer for Rice this summer and still fill all of the other holes in the squad? It will require some creative problem solving from Granovskaia and Tuchel, but by dipping into the loan army and shopping on the free transfer market, the Blues can get some bang for their bucks in other key areas.

Starting from the back, Chelsea will already be adding Jules Kounde to its ranks. The Blues are said to be exploring a deal for one more centerback, which would likely be their other big splash signing. In the loan army, both Ethan Ampadu and Levi Colwill will get looks this preseason. There are a few options out on the free agent market, but it’s unlikely Tuchel pursues any of the options seeing as there haven’t been links between his club and the players up to this point.

As for the midfield, it goes without saying Rice would be a huge addition. The other open spots are likely to be filled by players currently on the Blues’ payroll. Emerson—who enjoyed a fantastic season on loan with Lyon—is expected to deputize for Ben Chilwell on the left following Marcos Alonso’s anticipated departure. Dujon Sterling looks to build on his solid performance from last preseason and lock down his place on the roster behind Reece James. The open true midfielder spot, previously occupied by Atletico Madrid loanee Saul, will go to Conor Gallagher. Tuchel has already said the Crystal Palace Player of the Year will surely have a place on next year’s team, which fills a massive gap and gives Chelsea a huge boost in the middle of the park.

As for the attack, Ousmane Dembele is the oddsmaker’s favorite to join the Blues on a free transfer from Barcelona. He will likely slot in for one of the outgoing wingers. The Frenchman would not only bring his unique, creative skillset to a team in need of a playmaking injection, but he’d also go a long way to ensuring that Chelsea has money left to spend. Attackers are understandably the most expensive group on the market, so if the Blues can secure Dembele’s signature, they could potentially swoop in with a bid for Rice later on. It will require a lot of players to step up to the challenge, but it’s not crazy to expect Chelsea to make it happen one way or another as it continues to rebuild the squad in Tuchel’s image.

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