Frank Lampard has changed his mind over deploying Chelsea target Declan Rice as a centre-back and instead wants to use him in his regular role as a defensive midfielder.
Chelsea have already spent big this summer window, signing the likes of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz while a £20m deal for Edouard Mendy is expected to be announced soon.
But Lampard is not done in the transfer window and still wants to sign West Ham star Rice, though the his club will demand as much as £80m for the England international.
Initial reports claimed Lampard wanted to convert Rice into a central defender – the position he played for most of his youth career – and viewed him as a way to fix his team’s poor backline.
According to The Athletic, Lampard has had a rethink and will urge Chelsea to open the chequebook one last time to sign Rice as a defensive midfielder.
The Chelsea manager is unhappy with his defensive midfield options and does not see N’Golo Kante as someone suited to sitting in front of the defence, with the midfielder at his best when pressing higher up.
Lampard reportedly wants a player who will hold position deeper and break up play, as well as giving physical presence – a role Rice has proven he can occupy well in the Premier League.
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But West Ham will play hardball over their most prized asset and do not want to risk upsetting their supporters – and players – even more by selling Rice, having faced a backlash after the exit of Grady Diangana.
However, Chelsea feel Rice may have to force the issue in order for a move to happen by handing the club a transfer request, though it seems very unlikely he would do so despite being open to returning to the Bridge.