Chelsea will have to break the bank to seal Declan Rice transfer from West Ham
After a summer transfer window filled to the brim with drama, it looks like Declan Rice could be next at the centre of a bidding war between elite clubs.
Chelsea's admiration of the West Ham midfielder is well reported but it will not be a simple deal to strike, with Manchester United and Manchester City also eager to sign the England starter.
But he will not come cheap. Rice still has three years remaining on his current deal and, even after turning down two offers of new terms from his club in the summer, West Ham remain adamant that their most prized asset is going nowhere for less than £100million.
football.london understand that West Ham have never received a bid for Rice and would not welcome one. The midfielder is understood to be happy at the club and on a long-term deal that does not expire until 2024 with the club holding an option to extend for a further 12 months.
So far, it is a figure that has deterred Chelsea from making an offer. But reports of Manchester City's interest show that, after splashing that amount on Jack Grealish this year, they would not be averse to doing so again. Especially with Fernandinho now approaching 37.
Manchester United remain confident of landing Rice and given their issues in midfield, it would be logical to assume they too would be more inclined to pay the big bucks.
With Jorginho, N'Golo Kante, Saul Niguez and Mateo Kovacic currently at their disposal, it could be argued that out of the interested teams, Chelsea need Rice the least.
That is assuming Thomas Tuchel plans to play him in midfield and not, as has been rumoured, as a centre-back.
But his plans will be irrelevant unless the Blues do something they have never done before and spend £100 million on a players.
Given the length of time remaining on Rice's contract, West Ham hold the power at the moment. As such, the highest bidder will likely land his signature.
Romelu Lukaku cost Chelsea £97.5million this summer but they will need to go higher in the future if they want to pip their 'big-six' rivals to Rice's signature.