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West Ham 'confident Frank Lampard's sacking will end Chelsea's interest in Declan Rice'

Published on: 26 January 2021

West Ham are confident that Chelsea's interest in Declan Rice will now end after they sacked Frank Lampard, according to reports.

Lampard was relieved of his duties on Monday, ending his 18-month stint as boss at Stamford Bridge having spent 13 years there as a player, with Thomas Tuchel set to replace him in the managerial hotseat.

England international Rice has been strongly linked with a £70million return to Chelsea since the summer having been released by the Blues at the age of 14.

But according to The Telegraph, the Hammers believe that the interest in Rice from the west London side will now die down.

Lampard had identified the 22-year-old as a key target in the summer transfer window given his ability to play at both centre-back and as a defensive midfielder.

But the report adds Lampard faced opposition within the club about his interest in re-signing a now expensive academy graduate that they had let go for free, and that unless Tuchel makes him a priority signing, any deal is now highly unlikely.

The Athletic also claimed Lampard clashed with club chief Marina Granovskaia over the pursuit of Rice.

The Blues spent a mammoth £220m in the summer but the board reportedly refused to sanction a move for the England international without raising funds through player sales, which did not transpire.

The report adds Lampard was prepared to sell five first-team players - namely Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso and Kepa Arrizabalaga -  to match West Ham's valuation for Rice, who he had kept at the top of his transfer list before his departure.

But with Lampard's sacking there is now little reported desire to continue their interest, which will come as a blow to Rice who is believed to have been keen to link up with old friend Mason Mount.

The report mentions Liverpool as a possible alternative for Rice in the summer if Jurgen Klopp is handed the necessary funds.

Manchester United were also reportedly keen to rival the Blues, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer set to prioritise moves for a central defender and defensive midfielder in the summer.


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