Chelsea have been told that they should avoid signing West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice amid reports linking him with league leaders Arsenal.
Rice has been in fine form for West Ham over the past couple of seasons as he has established himself as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.
The Englishman has helped the Hammers compete for a place in Europe in recent years but they currently find themselves battling for survival in the Premier League.
The 24-year-old is seemingly ready to secure himself a move elsewhere, with him admitting that he is keen to play in the Champions League.
Rice is likely to benefit from West Ham’s rivals being in the market for new midfielders. Liverpool are known to be keen to strengthen in that area, but Arsenal have reportedly identified him as their top target for this summer.
Chelsea meanwhile had Rice on their books as an academy player and they have regularly been linked with him in recent times.
But they spent over £100m to sign Enzo Fernandez in January and it is hard to see them paying a similar fee to sign Rice. Recent reports have suggested that West Ham want £120m for their prized asset.
But ex-Tottenham man Jamie O’Hara feels that Rice is not worth that much.
“I think Declan Rice is a little bit overrated, to be honest. He is a brilliant player, I really like him, but he is playing for West Ham; Enzo Fernandez has won the World Cup, so you can see where his price tag comes from. Rice is brilliant, but not on that level. Will he break the British transfer record? I don’t think so,” O’Hara told Grosvenor Sport.
“If Chelsea sign Rice and have two central midfielders for over £100 million, and they don’t win the Premier League title, I will be amazed.
“Chelsea have spent all of this money on Enzo Fernandez and Mykhailo Mudryk, all of these players for £600 million, and now they are going to bring in Declan Rice?!
“It still isn’t Michael Ballack and Frank Lampard. They still haven’t got a Didier Drogba up front, a John Terry at the back, an Ashley Cole or a Petr Cech. They will have spent £800 million on a worse team than they had 10 years ago. How does that make sense?”
O’Hara added: “I don’t know what their (Chelsea) plan is. I think the owner is playing Football Manager, I don’t care what anyone says. They say there is a plan in place and that they are excited about the future.
“They have players on prison sentences in the team, they have nine-year contracts; it’s ridiculous. Declan Rice probably will go there, but how many more do they need? £200 million for those two central midfielders? I’d rather have Claude Makelele and N’Golo Kante when he is fit.”
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