Chelsea have been told to sign Declan Rice as an immediate “upgrade” for N’Golo Kante. Frank Lampard saw seven players arrive in the summer window, at a cost of more than £200million.
But one player he wanted to sign and didn’t, is believed to be West Ham star Rice.
The Blues boss was heavily linked with a move for the England international, although ultimately, a bid was never lodged.
It was claimed that Chelsea’s failure to offload their fringe players, made it too difficult to sanction a move for Rice.
But former Tottenham striker Darren Bent believes Rice would serve as an upgrade on Kante due to his ability in more than one position.
“For me, Declan Rice would be an upgrade,” Bent told talkSPORT.
“Not only because he can play that role really, really well, he can get about the pitch, has got good energy, reads the game really well.
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“Not only that as well, he can drop into centre half, that’s two positions he can play.
“N’Golo Kante has been a superb footballer and still is a great footballer. He won the Premier League with Leicester, went to Chelsea and won the Premier League and won the World Cup back in 2018.
“I just think for a season-and-a-half now he’s not played in that role we know he is so good at.”
A move for Rice would likely leave Kante available to leave Stamford Bridge, with a host of clubs sure to be in the market for his services.
Back in the summer window, Manchester United were believed to hold an interest in the two-time Premier League winner.
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They are potentially on the lookout for a midfield player after Paul Pogba admitted a move to the Bernabeu would be a “dream” for him.
“Many things have been said,” Pogba told reporters.
“Of course, every footballer would love to play for Real Madrid and would dream about that. It’s a dream of mine, so why not one day?
“But I’m at Manchester United and I love my club.”
Pogba has less than 12-months remaining on his deal and the Frenchman added further fuel to speculation, suggesting talks over a new contract had yet to even begin.
Reports have suggested that Rennes youngster Eduardo Camavinga could also be an option, despite Zinedine Zidane making a personal request to sign him.
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But at the top of the Real Madrid boss’s wishlist is believed to be Kante, who they see as the heir Casemiro.
Real had presviously been hesitant on signing the Chelsea ace as the price tag attached was too steep.
But with Kante out of contract in 2023 and the current transfer market making players cheaper, conditions would be more favourable to make a bid.
Chelsea return to action on Saturday when they take on Southampton in the Premier League (3pm).
Meanwhile, United will look to bounce back against Newcastle at the same time after their 6-1 defeat to Tottenham before the international break.
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