Frank Lampard admits he wanted West Ham star Declan Rice at Chelsea FC: ‘I was a big fan of his’

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George Flood
·2-min read
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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Frank Lampard has admitted that he wanted to sign West Ham star Declan Rice during his time in charge at Chelsea.

The versatile England midfielder was heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge last year during a hectic summer transfer window that saw Chelsea invest more than £200million on seven new recruits.

However, such a move never came to pass with West Ham standing firm with their desire to keep hold of a key player who was initially released by Chelsea as a teenager.

Rice has gone from strength to strength at London Stadium this season, captaining the Hammers during their quest for Champions League qualification and cementing his status as an absolutely instrumental figure under David Moyes in addition to becoming an important player for England ahead of this summer’s rescheduled European Championship.

Moyes insisted recently that West Ham had received no big offers for either Rice - whose chances of playing at the Euros could be at risk due to a knee injury set to keep him sidelined for up to six weeks - or midfield partner Tomas Soucek but said they would consider bids like any other club, warning it would take the “Bank of England and the Royal Bank of Scotland” to prise away Rice.

Discussing Rice during a recent Q&A in aid of the Willow Foundation at the London Football Awards, Lampard, speaking publicly for the first time since his sacking by Chelsea in January, told ESPN’s James Olley: "I've probably given it away in how I've spoken about him.

“He is certainly a player I admire. It is common knowledge I was a big fan of his. It didn't happen for various reasons. We obviously brought players in in the summer and it didn't happen. But I was a big fan of his.

"For understandable reasons as well, West Ham are understanding of the player they have on their hands. I don't want to put Declan in a position with this because all I see from Declan is absolute performance and desire to play for West Ham, the club he is at now.

"I'm sure he absolutely respects the club for giving him his opportunity there. The choices will be Declan's as the years go ahead but the performances he's giving there now is great to watch."

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