Chelsea have Declan Rice alternative with West Ham deal "still difficult"

After signing seven senior players, Chelsea showed their commitment in backing Frank Lampard.

A year ago, the legendary midfielder had to negotiate his way through a transfer embargo, as Blues fans enviously looked around the rest of the Premier League, as teams went about improving their squad.

But there was no such envy this time around, as Chelsea spent more than £200million to give Lampard a squad ready to compete for the title.

Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz will all add extra dimensions to the team going forward, while Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell provided some much needed defensive reinforcements.

Centre-back Malang Sarr was signed on a free transfer, but his loan to Porto means that move won’t reap benefits until next season at least.

Kepa Arrizabalaga struggles in goal also meant Lampard needed to bring in some competition between the sticks, with Edouard Mendy signing from Rennes.

One player that Lampard failed to sign however, was West Ham star Declan Rice.

The England international was high on Chelsea’s wishlist in the final hours of the window, but a failure to offload some of their fringe players meant a deal was unable to completed.

It has been reported that the Hammers were not willing to negotiate with their London rivals, although Chelsea didn’t officially lodge a bid.

Football.London report that Rice will likely remain a ‘top target’ for the Blues next summer, particularly if his good early season form is continued.

However, West Ham are likely to play hardball in any negotiations, with Stamford Bridge bosses believing a deal will still be difficult at the end of the 2020/21 season.

That means that potential alternatives are already being considered, with Boubakary Soumare believed to be an option.

The Lille midfielder has been linked with Chelsea, as well as many of their top-six rivals.

Soumare was expected to leave the Ligie 1 outfit, as club bosses looked to cash in on the 21-year-old.

He’s been in and out of the Lille team, but is building a reputation as one of the best young defensive midfielders in European football.

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