Chelsea have suffered a setback in their bid to sign Declan Rice from West Ham, as the Hammers are planning to offer the 21-year-old a lucrative new contract in order to convince him to snub a move to Stamford Bridge.
Rice is reportedly Chelsea’s top target after a busy summer transfer window.
The Blues spent big this summer to improve their squad, forking out £250million primarily on attacking reinforcements.
Centre-back Thiago Silva was signed on a free transfer after leaving Paris Saint-Germain, while Malang Sarr was signed and instantly sent out on loan to Porto.
Ben Chilwell was the only defender they paid a transfer fee for, with the left-back costing them £50m from Leicester City.
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Rice was always Lampard’s top target for the centre-back position, according to reports.
The Chelsea boss apparently wanted the youngster to play in the middle of a three-man centre-back line, with wing backs on either side.
However, West Ham kept to their £73m valuation of their star man, and refused to discuss letting him go for less.
Rice refused to kick up a fuss and try and force a move, and West Ham are now set to reward him with a new contract.
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He is currently under contract until 2024, with a club and player option to extend until 2025.
And his new contract won’t be an extension, according to Ian McGarry of the Transfer Window Podcast.
Instead, it’ll simply be the same contract but with an increased salary and bonus structure, with West Ham hoping they can offer him enough to turn down a move to Stamford Bridge.
McGarry explained: “Frank Lampard is desperate to have a commanding centre-back, even though Chelsea signed Thiago Silva on a free contract from Paris Saint-Germain. He still wants to have a younger, very very commanding player, to organise his defence.
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“The faults were seen yet again and exposed by the game last weekend against Southampton when they were in commanding positions on three occasions and on all three occasions conceded goals – including one on added time to ensure they dropped two points.
“They’ve now shipped 62 goals in 43 league games, which is the third-worst record in the Premier League over the past season and start of this season.
“West Ham, to their credit, have offered Declan Rice and his representatives the chance to come and discuss an upgrade to his current deal.
“His current deal was extended in December 2018 until 2024, but my understanding is that upgrade itself won’t necessarily be an extension because it’s already very long-term, plus there’s a one-year option on both sides to extend it to 2025.
“What I understand is that they’ll offer him a pay-rise on better terms and with better bonuses in order to keep Chelsea at bay.
“It seems like a positive move on their part to ensure the player is enticed to stay, and of course an upgraded contract means they can ask for more money from Chelsea if they do come knocking again in January.”
Duncan Castles, who appeared on the podcast with McGarry, explained that Chelsea will have to financially improve their offer for Rice if they are to sign him in January.
He said: “Well, it’ll make it more expensive for Chelsea because they’ll have tied him down to a new contract, and they’ll have increased his wages.
“Chelsea will have to at least match those and typically better them.”
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