West Ham ready to knock back any Chelsea offer for Rice

Goal.com

West Ham will resist any approach from Chelsea for Declan Rice over the summer and they have no interest in selling their prized asset to a London rival.

The Blues are interested in making a move for Rice, who left the club at 14 years old to join Hammers, but it looks unlikely that Frank Lampard's side will be able to convince their rivals over negotiating a deal.

The 21-year-old still has four years left on his contract at the London Stadium with an option for a further year, while West Ham don't need to sell their midfielder unless relegation changes their financial outlook.

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This is despite the Hammers having shown an interest in signing Ross Barkley in January, who could've been used as a potential makeweight.

Barkley is, however, still committed to the Blues and was in good form ahead of the current break in play due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Rice struck up friendships at Chelsea's academy base in Cobham during his time as a youth-team player at the club and retains a strong relationship with those who have rose through the ranks. That includes Mason Mount, with the pair having been best friends since they were eight years old.

The Blues remain unclear over possible transfer business in the summer, given the uncertainty over the 2019-20 season during the Covid-19 outbreak and when the window will be opened.

They have instead been focusing on contract renewals, with new deals for Olivier Giroud and Tino Anjorin due to be announced in the coming days and weeks. Renewing Tammy Abraham's contract becomes the next priority, with the England forward having impressed up to now in his breakthrough camapign at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard has publicly stated his interest in Lille star Boubakary Soumare, with the midfielder attracting interest from a host of clubs ahead of the next transfer window.

Still, the central midfield area is lower on Chelsea's list of priorities with Billy Gilmour coming through and Ruben Loftus-Cheek set to return to add to a squad that already possesses Barkley, Mount, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and N'Golo Kante.

World Cup winner Kante is unlikely to move in the summer despite long-term interest from Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, with Goal reporting the Frenchman's preference is to stay with the Blues.

Chelsea will instead focus their efforts on signing an attacker and a left-back, with Barcelona having sounded out the Stamford Bridge club over their potential interest in signing Philippe Coutinho.

It remains unclear whether the Blues will make any attempt to sign Coutinho, with the Brazilian potentially being available on loan, and, were he to join, he would sit alongside Kante as being one of the club's top earners.

Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, Lyon striker Moussa Dembele and RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner are among the others on the club's radar ahead of the upcoming transfer window.

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