Jody Morris says Chelsea failed to get Declan Rice on board for £60m during his West Ham days
Jody Morris’s revelation sheds light on Chelsea’s interest in Declan Rice and the missed opportunity to secure the midfielder’s services before his move to Arsenal. As Frank Lampard’s former assistant manager at Chelsea, Morris was keen on bringing Rice back to Stamford Bridge, recognizing his potential as a long-term replacement for N’Golo Kante.
Rice’s rise to prominence at West Ham and subsequent move to Arsenal for a staggering £105m underscores his value in the Premier League. However, Morris reveals that Chelsea had been eyeing Rice for some time, even before his impressive displays at West Ham.
Despite seeing himself released by Chelsea’s academy as a teenager, Rice remained on the radar of the club’s coaching staff. Morris reached out to the midfielder during his time at West Ham, expressing Chelsea’s interest in bringing him back to the club.
With Rice’s talent evident, Morris believed he could seamlessly fit into Chelsea’s midfield, providing the defensive solidity and quality on the ball akin to Kante. Here is what Morris had to say on the No Tippy Tappy Football podcast:
‘I messaged him when we were there and said, ‘would you come back?’, because obviously, he was released from Chelsea as a 14-year-old,’
‘If you actually spoke to Dec, I don’t think that he would have thought that he should have been released. But there was quite a few of them that thought maybe he shouldn’t have been released.’‘The upstairs at the club were speaking to his dad and talking about a few things. It was pushed behind a couple of other signings and didn’t get through.’
‘I think at the time they were quoting around £60 million, £65m, so that would’ve been an absolute snip.’
Rice back to the Blues?
Considering Rice’s impact at West Ham and his subsequent success at Arsenal, such a fee would have been deemed a steal for a player of his calibre.
However, despite Morris’s efforts to lure Rice back to Chelsea, the midfielder ultimately stayed back at the London Stadium before eventually moving to Arsenal. The opportunity to reunite with his former club may have been appealing to Rice, but his decision to join the Gunners undoubtedly came with its own set of motivations and considerations.
In hindsight, Chelsea may [read would surely] regret missing out on Rice, especially considering their midfield struggles in recent seasons. The midfielder’s blend of defensive tenacity and technical ability could have provided a valuable asset to Lampard’s side, bolstering their midfield options and potentially altering the trajectory of their campaigns.
Ultimately, Morris’s revelation serves as a reminder of the complexities and uncertainties involved in the transfer market.
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While Chelsea’s interest in Rice was evident, the midfielder’s path led him elsewhere, leaving the club to ponder what could have been. As Rice continues to shine at Arsenal, Chelsea may rue the opportunity they missed to secure his services earlier in his career.