CHELSEA is ready to push its summer spending above £ 250 million by finally making a definitive offer for Declan Rice.
The Blues have already spent £ 131.3 million to sign Timo Werner, plus Hakim Ziyech and Ben Chilwell.
Kai Havertz is also due, in a deal costing £ 72.2 million before bonuses – with Malang Sarr and Thiago Silva coming free.
Boss Frank Lampard still wants Rice from West Ham, who values him at £ 80m and won’t make it easy to strike a deal.
Lamps sees 21-year-old midfielder Rice – who also plays defensively – as the ideal man to help the club get back into the Premier League title mix.
The Stamford Bridge outfit is ready to play the long game, knowing West Ham must sell before buying.
Rice is seen as perfect for the Blues team, a natural leader willing to learn from seasoned stars like former Paris Saint-Germain captain Silva, 35, who completed his Blues move yesterday.
Hammers boss David Moyes is desperate to dump Felipe Anderson and Manuel Lanzini to give him some cash to make improvements after a poor 2019-20.
But interest is limited, and unless offers arrive soon, selling the rice may be the only option.
Chelsea know they are in a strong position which will likely see them try to push the odds well below the £ 80m West Ham wants.
Leicester had wanted £ 70m for Chilwell before settling for £ 50m and the Blues are hoping to get a similar discount on Rice.