Journalist David Ornstein believes Chelsea are likely to have a hard time signing Declan Rice as West Ham have no plans to let their ace leave this summer.

Frank Lampard has already bolstered his defence this transfer window with Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell.

However, according to The Athletic journalist Ornstein, Lampard has another potential defensive signing in mind.

West Ham United v Newcastle United - Premier League

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Speaking on the Tifo Podcast YouTube channel, he said: “We do know of Chelsea’s interest.

“Frank Lampard is really keen on Rice and would like to bring him to Stamford Bridge and convert him into a top-class centre-back.”

The 21-year-old, whose skill set allows him to play in defence and midfield, would certainly help Chelsea solve their defensive issues.

But Ornstein emphasised Chelsea would have little chance of bringing their former academy player back to Stamford Bridge given West Ham’s stance.

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“The view of the West Ham hierarchy, as I understand it, is Rice is not for sale under any circumstances,” he added.

“Those who I’ve spoken to – and they are very close to West Ham – said he will not be leaving and it is unthinkable in this transfer window.

“Especially after the uproar from West Ham fans after the club decided to sell their homegrown product Grady Diangana to West Brom.”

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Ornstein also said there were reservations at Chelsea about the price they would have to pay for Rice, which could reportedly reach up to €80 million (£72.8 million)

Having reportedly spent more than £200m this summer, Chelsea would understandably be reluctant to pay for another blockbuster signing, unless they managed to raise funds from player sales.

As things stand, though, Chelsea haven’t been too successful at selling their players in this window.

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