Before I get into things, I would like to make it clear that this is a very conditional article, which depends on a lot of things. But, I decided to write it due to the firestorm the rumors caused on social media.
First thing’s first, I am going to go on the record and say Declan Rice is a good player; he’s class. No matter how much you might hate him for whatever reason, or say he is useless in our team, he’s a good player. Rice isn’t world class, but he’s only 20 years old. He can play in midfield and he can play in the back. In modern football, that is a VERY valuable player. Rice isn’t exactly a Ruud Gullit, but he can get the job done where he’s placed, with room to grow.
Currently, West Ham’s asking price for Rice is a little volatile and seems to change by the week. Ranging between £40m and £90m, he’s no doubt an expensive buy. I think lots of people forget that Rice has senior caps for Ireland and England at age 20. For a club like Chelsea however, the price is not that steep especially with the ban until at least January. The small minded times at Chelsea need to end. Buying Rice would shore up a midfield that has seen Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek and Kante injured this season at some point. Frank Lampard could also make a choice to stick Rice in defence, where Chelsea have been among the league’s worst in goals conceded. Suddenly with a theoretic purchase of Declan Rice, there is a great deal of flexibility that is now provided tactically and with personnel.
As I mentioned a few times earlier, Declan Rice is 20 years old, and that means he shouldn’t push for 30+ appearances in a season at Chelsea like his younger English counterparts Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi. Aside from depth, Rice would offer even more to Chelsea. He meets the homegrown quota which would allow Chelsea to offload Ross Barkley, who has been nothing short of a total disaster aside from his Zidane-esque preseason performances. Should the club choose to permanently sell Bakayoko to AS Monaco as well, the two transactions would be able to fuel another signing that should undoubtably help a squad competing in Champions League football in dire need of quality depth. With that said, Rice will not be a “backup player” and he is not “backup player” quality.
In theory, if Rice were to play regularly, there’s a few great spots for him and it causes great competition among the midfielders, who already have been stellar this season. Mainly, Rice will compete with Jorginho and Kante to play at the base of the midfield in Lampard’s 4231 system. Rice could play in the double-pivot, where N’Golo Kante excelled at the very top alongside Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, and Danny Drinkwater. And we all know Rice is better than two of those three names and need I not say more. The only down-side to this transfer is the fact that he is no Jorginho or Kante, but a totally different type of player that we don’t have in the squad. Rice also lacks Champions League experience which is something evidently crucial to Lampard when electing to substitute Pedro on against Valencia instead of Pulisic, despite starting Abraham and Tomori and leaving them on for 90 minutes. In order to progress Chelsea forward, the board SHOULD sign Declan Rice.