‘Chelsea should have signed Rice yesterday’ - Poyet urges big-money transfer raid on West Ham

Declan Rice West Ham 2022-23Getty
  • Midfielder spent time in Blues' academy
  • Expected to leave Hammers
  • Successor to Kante required

WHAT HAPPENED? The Blues have been linked with the England international for some time, with the highly-rated 24-year-old having previously spent time in their academy system. No deal has been done, though, and Rice’s asking price has continued to rise to the point that it now reportedly stands at nine figures. Poyet believes efforts should still be made to get an agreement over the line, especially as World Cup winner N’Golo Kante is struggling with serious injury issues and will see his contract at Stamford Bridge expire in the summer.

WHAT THEY SAID: Former Chelsea star Poyet has told Online Betting Guide of the business that the Blues need to get done: “I think Chelsea have been waiting to see what the situation is regarding the injury with Kante, and because I don’t think they can see an end, I would buy Rice now. I would even say yesterday, they should have gone and got him. Definitely there is a Chelsea with a top Kante at his best and a different one without him. I said it when he came from Leicester and the first year he played for Chelsea, for me he was the best central defensive midfield player in the world.

“Now I am still convinced that when you are missing a player like that for so long, first because he was played on the right by [Maurizio] Sarri, and then because of the injury, you must replace him. Nothing against Jorginho, [Mateo] Kovacic, nothing to do with that - we are talking about levels. I think it is important as well for the British side, you know the English side, as well in the midfield that you have that leader and for many years you can have such a good player.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Rice is tied to a long-term deal at West Ham through to 2024, with the option of a 12-month extension beyond that point, but the Hammers have been struggling to match his ambition on the field and a big-money transfer in the summer of 2023 continues to be touted.


Declan Rice West Ham 2022-23Getty

N'Golo Kante Chelsea 2022-23Getty Images

WHAT NEXT? Chelsea have shown that the departure of Roman Abramovich will do little to curb their spending power, with the Premier League heavyweights – who splashed out more than £250 million ($309m) in the summer of 2022 – already bringing in Benoit Badiashile, Joao Felix, Andrey Santos, David Datro Fofana and Mykhailo Mudryk during the January window as they continue to be linked with various other supposed targets.