Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel had reportedly identified 23-year-old West Ham United midfielder

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel had reportedly identified West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice as a transfer target to bolster their struggling midfield in the summer transfer window.

Rice, 23, has established himself as one of the best holding midfielders in the world over the last two seasons.

Appointed as the club captain following Mark Noble’s retirement in May, he is a commanding presence in David Moyes’ side.

Chelsea have been regularly linked with a move for Rice, but an astronomical price tag of £150 million has made a potential deal impossible so far. However, according to journalist Simon Phillips, Tuchel was eager to acquire the midfielder’s services this summer.

Speaking to Give Me Sport, Phillips claimed that Tuchel spoke to Todd Boehly and other co-owners regarding the move. He said:

“I know for a fact that Thomas Tuchel really wanted Declan Rice. At the start of the window, he was talking to staff at Cobham about how much he wanted Rice and he was definitely a target that Tuchel put to the new owners as well.”

Overall, Rice has registered 10 goals and 11 assists in 201 appearances across all competitions for West Ham. He has also earned 32 international caps for England since his debut in March 2019.

Incidentally, the former Ireland international was a former Chelsea academy player between 2006 and 2014. After being released from the west London outfit’s youth setup, he spent three years with the Hammers before making his first-team debut in 2017.

Meanwhile, the Blues made a few significant additions this summer. The club roped in the likes of Raheem Sterling, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Kalidou Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella and Denis Zakaria for a combined sum of over £250 million.

Chelsea will next travel to Dinamo Zagreb for their UEFA Champions League Group E opener on Tuesday (September 6).

Declan Rice comments on controvesrial VAR decision in Chelsea-West Ham clash

After West Ham United were denied a late equaliser by a controversial VAR call in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against Chelsea, Declan Rice took to Twitter to vent his frustration. He wrote:

“That’s up there with one of the worst VAR decisions made since it’s come into the game. Shambles.”

In the 90th minute of the Premier League contest, Maxwell Cornet turned the ball into the Blues’ net but the goal was disallowed after a foul by Jarrod Bowen on Edouard Mendy in the build-up.

Earlier, Michail Antonio opened the scoring for the Hammers just after the hour-mark but goals from Ben Chilwell and Kai Havertz helped Thomas Tuchel’s side register their third win of the season.

Read more:

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