Declan Rice has long been of interest to Chelsea with Manchester United and Manchester City also known to queue up for his signature – the latter distancing themselves from the transfer recently, as revealed by BBC journalist, Mike Minay.
— Mike Minay (@MikeMinay) April 25, 2022
Declan Rice’s exceptional form at West Ham quickly garnered him international recognition and speculations started mounting, much of them centring on him wanting to depart the London Stadium and Chelsea circling for his signature.
These speculations have turned into serious attention now as the midfielder has reportedly turned down three contract offers from the Hammers – according to Fabrizio Romano – indicating his plans for an exit despite his current deal at West Ham running until 2024.
Excl: Declan Rice has turned down third contract offer at West Ham. There’s still no agreement – Rice has always been committed, but he’s now open to a move this summer. 🏴 #WHUFC
West Ham insist he’s untouchable as David Moyes said – but Declan Rice won’t sign a new deal. pic.twitter.com/5TIjcO2zUS
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 22, 2022
To Chelsea fans, this will be music to their ears as Chelsea are Rice’s long-standing admirer. His refusal to agree to the extension is understandable considering the lure of more grandiose clubs in the league is too great an opportunity to pass up, especially for a player in their peak years.
So far, Rice has managed to score just one goal in his 32 appearances for West Ham this season, with 8 assists under his belt but his credentials aren’t to be judged by his stats. In his defense, he’s a midfielder and plays for a side where goals come at a premium. His performance is what makes him an impressive playmaker.
West Ham have been locked in negotiations with Declan Rice over contract extension for months but have failed to tie him down. So far, Manchester United were known to be leading the race to sign Rice however, rumor has it that neither Ralf Rangnick nor Erik Ten Hag are in favour of the move as they believe his player profile isn’t what they want at the heart of United’s midfield – the rumor that remains unsubstantiated at the moment.
Chelsea have always held lofty ambitions for themselves whenever it came to squad structuring under the reign of Roman Abramovich and the lavish signings in the form of Romelu Lukaku, Kai Havertz, Kepa Arrizabalaga etc. reaffirms his signal of intent. How many of those expensive buys have worked out is in fact, another story.
Now, however, a shift in Chelsea’s spending habits seems inevitable considering our updated transfer policy will be shaped by the new owners. This leaves our situation regarding potential transfers in jeopardy, threatening to upset the status quo. Couple that with West Ham’s ability to extend Declan Rice’s contract to a further 12 months, and Chelsea’s transfer concerns are multiplied tenfold as the deal extension option seriously diminishes Cheslea’s prospect of targeting him in the future.
According to The Sun, West Ham are reluctant to abandon their favoured midfielder and insist he’s not for sale. On top of that, David Moyes has slapped a hefty price tag on Declan Rice, revising the figure upwards from £100m to £150m this year, claiming the £100m was pebbles compared to what the midfielder is actually worth. However, this transfer value can fluctuate in response to several factors such as Rice’s performance with England in the 2022 World Cup and West Ham’s decline in performance in the competition the participate in.
Chelsea and even the head coach Thomas Tuchel are long-term admirers of the midfielder who was released from the Cobham academy as a youngster. The affair is mutual and the interest is very much reciprocated as Rice has also publicly expressed his liking for his boyhood club.
When asked about how Tuchel rates Declan Rice, the blues boss responded with;
“Very Highly.” “He is available, is captain, plays with a lot of responsibility, is a physical player, very strategic-minded player, a key player for his team, and is strong at set-pieces. This is not a surprise. Everybody sees this. He is a huge part of the success of West Ham and it is impressive.”
Thomas Tuchel on how highly he rates Declan Rice:
“Very highly. He seems to be a very nice guy from what everybody tells me and is from the #Chelsea academy and he proves this [his quality].“
— Absolute Chelsea (@AbsoluteChelsea) April 23, 2022
With three and a half years still left on Rice’s contract, West Ham seem to be under no pressure to sell the midfielder this summer. However, it is understood that the Hammers will allow him to leave the following summer, provided a suitable offer is made. Currently, David Moyes is unworried about Rice’s contract situation as he maintains the midfielder is ‘untouchable’ and not for sale for the time being.
“We’ve got three and a half years so it isn’t the biggest priority. We’ve got other priorities, trying to add to the squad and get other positions in.
“Maybe he just wants more money. People do turn down contracts. It is not unusual for players at clubs to turn down contracts, maybe it is a negotiation tactic.” said the West Ham manager.
Chelsea currently have Mateo Kovačić, Jorginho and N’Golo Kante in the midfield. But, their contracts are also set to expire soon, forcing the need to make preparations beforehand.
WATCH: Chelsea’s out-of-favour striker Romelu Lukaku scores twice in action-packed second half 🔥
Romelu Lukaku scores twice v Wolves: Chelsea welcomed Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge tonight in a contest where they were hopeful of reversing their poor run of form to guarantee themselves a Champions League berth.
Despite the Blues receiving two goal scoring opportunities in the first-half of the game, it still ended in a stalemate. However, as the second-half commenced, Romelu Lukaku stepped up to strike twice in quick succession to put Chelsea on a trajectory toward what appeared to be a deserved victory at that time.
Lukaku’s goal tally for Chelsea this season has totalled up to 14 now, causing him to become the highest goal scorer for the Blues, just a goal ahead of Kai Havertz. His performance tonight underlines his renewed confidence as he looks to be approaching the sort of form that had deserted him for most of the season.
Romelu Lukaku hadn’t scored in the Premier League since December 29th.
129 days later and he's got a brace in 3 minutes ⚽⚽ pic.twitter.com/FzZx49vvHw
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 7, 2022
Watch how Romelu Lukaku scores twice in quick succession to give Chelsea’s scoreline an uplift:
The first goal came in response to a VAR call for a foul committed by Saiss on Romelu Lukaku as both players were caught up in a tangle on the edge of the penalty area.
Watch Lukaku’s left-footed penalty here:
The second goal was a Pulisic interception that found Lukaku who then completed the play with an emphatic low finish from the edge of the box with his weaker right foot.
Romelu Lukaku gets his brace with an assist from Christian Pulisic!
— Chelsea FC USA (@ChelseaFCinUSA) May 7, 2022
Lukaku wasn’t able to register himself on the scoresheet for Chelsea ever since the start of year 2022 – a daunting prospect for such an expensive striker – however, that record has been laid to rest today as his goals v Wolves have certainly managed to make a statement of his intent.
It’s a shame that a subpar defensive performance from his side overshadowed his monumental return to form. Chelsea were stripped to bone with comeback goals from Wolves that added misery to Chelsea’s hopes of securing a victory. The game ended in an unanticipated 2-2 draw.
After racking up underwhelming results from their recent run-ins, Chelsea are looking a lot less comfortable in the rough and tumble of Premier League’s top-four now. With the fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Tottenham breathing down Chelsea’s neck, their margin for error has now decreased to just two points, especially after having picked up only 5 points from a possible 15.
Official: Todd Boehly’s consortium signs agreement with Chelsea FC to succeed Roman Abramovich
Chelsea released an official statement in the early hours of Saturday morning confirming that the terms have been agreed with the LA Dodgers’ part-owner Todd Boehly’s consortium to complete the £4.25bn takeover of the club though the acquisition is yet to be approved by the Premier League authorities as well as the UK government.
The statement read:
‘Chelsea Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the Club’.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 7, 2022
🚨🔵 Official. Chelsea statement now confirms that “terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the Club”. #CFC
It’s the end of Roman Abramovich era. pic.twitter.com/fTw5EMdd8p
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 7, 2022
Last week, it was revealed that Todd Boehly & Co were Raine Group’s preferred choice to succeed Roman Abramovich following which the group were given one-week window of exclusive negotiations with the club to finalise the takeover. The deal had appeared in doubt due to late interest from Sir Jim Ratcliffe, however, those fears were dissipated as the Ratcliffe bid was later dismissed on account of his inability to complete the sale process by May 31st – the date when Chelsea’s current license expires.
Although the group is fronted by Todd Boehly, private equity firm Clearlake Capital is the one providing the majority of the financial firepower to it. The consortium also includes Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, Boehly’s fellow LA Dodgers’ owner Mark Walter and the British property developer Jonathan Goldstein.
As per Chelsea’s official statement, the £4.25bn headline sum includes the £2.5bn cost required to secure shares in Chelsea – which will go into a frozen UK bank account for the purpose of releasing 100 per cent of the proceeds to charitable causes – the remaining £1.75bn is the amount the group have committed to invest in the club’s future, covering costs regarding redevelopment projects and ensuring there are sufficient funds in place for operational use.
‘The proposed new owners will commit £1.75bn in further investment for the benefit of the Club. This includes investments in Stamford Bridge, the Academy, the Women’s Team and Kingsmeadow and continued funding for the Chelsea Foundation’.
The Clause also placed a limit on the debt the new owners can place on the club.
It also made sure the group pledged £1.75B to be invested in Chelsea's male and female teams, the academy, stadium, and the Chelsea Foundation.
Roman Abramovich secured Chelsea for at least 10yrs. pic.twitter.com/RhZ985Vuxq
— SportsDokita (Odogwu ☝️) (@Sports_Doctor2) May 7, 2022
Few final, obligatory steps remain in the official transfer of ownership of Chelsea Football Club to Todd Boehly’s consortium, one of which requires all group members to complete the Premier League Owners’ and Directors’ Test. Furthermore, Chelsea will have to apply for the amended license from the UK government that would upgrade the club’s operational capacity in addition to allowing the transaction to go ahead. The preparations are underway as the Raine Group wants the sale process to reach its completion as soon as possible.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: Four players on the injury list, including a midfield duo.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: Chelsea welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge on Saturday where they will be looking to reverse their poor run of form to guarantee themselves a Champions League berth. There are four player absentees that have been confirmed so far by head coach, Thomas Tuchel, in today’s pre-match conference.
After racking up underwhelming results from their recent run-ins, Chelsea are looking a lot less comfortable in the rough and tumble of Premier League’s top-four now. With the fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Tottenham breathing down Chelsea’s neck, their margin for error has now decreased to just three points, especially after having picked up only 4 points from a possible 12.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: The central midfield duo N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are ruled out of action for tomorrow’s clash as reported by Thomas Tuchel at a press briefing today.
Additionally, the long-term absentees Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell also remain restricted to the sidelines, despite returning to light training.
— Absolute Chelsea (@AbsoluteChelsea) May 6, 2022
N’Golo Kante had sustained a knock in the game against Manchester United, consequently missing last weekend’s trip to Everton where his fellow midfielder Jorginho was taken off the pitch at interval.
‘For N’Golo it comes too early. Jorginho is out as well, these two are missing. Callum and Ben Chilwell are still out,’ said the Blues boss.
The duo’s unavailability will give way to introducing Kovačić and most likely RLC in their stead as the latter is currently enjoying an upturn in form.
Mateo Kovačić returned to action as a half-time substitute last weekend after missing a couple games on account of nursing an ankle injury. He stands the highest chance of featuring a start in tomorrow’s game v Wolves.
There is a growing feeling that Tuchel might give Romelu Lukaku a start tomorrow, considering his substitute Kai Havertz is also struggling to find the form that has recently deserted him.
Thomas Tuchel has expressed optimism regarding Lukaku’s reaction in training this week. The Blues boss said;
‘I want him to be an important part of the squad, right now he is very important. There is no recruitment and no players are about to leave because it’s simply not possible,’
‘We need to adapt all the time, to contractual situations and also individual situations, to what we and the players want.
‘We signed a big player, he is a big player. He didn’t come on [at Everton] as we had only three changes, and unfortunately we used one at half-time with Jorginho. Otherwise there was a huge chance we had the same changes as against West Ham, with Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech,’
‘He trained very well, maybe he starts tomorrow, we’ll see.’
🗣️ "Maybe starts tomorrow, let's see." 👀
Thomas Tuchel says he wants Romelu Lukaku to be an important part of the squad next season and discusses why he wasn't played against Everton 🔵 pic.twitter.com/n8Lf0sEvRP
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 6, 2022