Chelsea could have their own “Declan Rice” with Ethan Ampadu reportedly keen to impress manager Frank Lampard and fight for a place in the squad.
The 19-year-old’s season-long loan at Bundesliga side RB Leipzig did not exactly go as initially planned.
His back problem from the end of February until June practically ruined his chance of becoming a regular despite his brilliant displays in the Champions League, particularly against Tottenham Hotspur on February 19.
Now that he has returned to Chelsea, the Wales international wants to impress Lampard in training sessions, and even is putting any moves on hold, according to a report from Goal.
The report also said that Lampard is a huge fan of Ampadu, but the teenager had already agreed to join Leipzig by the time Lampard arrived as the new manager.
Chelsea have also yet to push Ampadu to look for another loan spell, although the situation is subject to change depending on Chelsea’s activities in the transfer market, the report added.
If Ampadu is keen on staying as reported, Chelsea should consider him as an alternative to their reported target Rice.
The Guardian’s report from July said that West Ham United’s Rice is one of the names in Chelsea’s shortlist.
While according to Athletic journalist David Ornstein (Tifo Podcast), Lampard would like to make Rice a centre-back rather than a defensive midfielder.
Ornstein also said that West Ham would likely demand a fee of £65million to £70m for their young leader.
Similar to Rice, Ampadu is also capable of playing in defence and in midfield.
In both of his two appearances as a starter in the Champions League with Leipzig this season, Ampadu played as a centre-back.
Obviously, the Chelsea youngster lacks the experience Rice has, but having a versatile defensive player would only help Lampard, particularly with Billy Gilmour expected to be out for four months after his knee surgery.