Euro 2020 star Declan Rice may just have given Chelsea added optimism in their pursuit of the West Ham United and England midfielder.
According to Eurosport, Rice is contemplating a move away from the London Stadium this summer.
The 22-year-old is hot property right now, having helped the Hammers to Europa League qualification last season.
He is also playing a leading role in England’s European Championship adventure, adding further stock to his value.
Rice reviews his options
Despite his success at West Ham, sources in Rice’s circle say he’s pondering a move to a “bigger club”.
Chelsea are said to be leading the charge in terms of interest, with Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool also in the race.
But, for any of those Premier League giants, funding that particular transfer may be an issue.
West Ham will demand upwards of £90m (Telegraph) for Rice, with Eurosport adding the player wants more than £150,000 a week in wages.
That would easily make Rice Chelsea’s record signing and one of their highest earners, unless they get Erling Haaland as well.
Chelsea in the chase
City also want to splash big on Harry Kane, while United and Liverpool have their own issues to resolve.
That leaves the Blues in a decent position, especially as Rice already has ties to Stamford Bridge.
His career began in the Blues’ academy before the midfielder joined West Ham. Rice grew up alongside Mason Mount at Cobham and the pair have remained life-long friends.
“He is an amazing role model,” Mount said in an interview with The Sun about his mate.
“On the pitch he is very serious, extremely hard-working and takes responsibility. He is a natural leader.”
Thomas Tuchel is also reportedly looking for a new centre-back. Along with Haaland and Rice, it could be an expensive transfer window for Roman Abramovich.