Chelsea should be considering a move for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, says Matt Jarvis, but the England international is likely to demand a fee of more than £50 million ($62m).
Speculation regarding a switch for the 21-year-old is starting to build again heading towards the next window.
Manchester United have been heavily linked with an approach in the past, as have the Red Devils’ neighbours at Manchester City, while Arsenal have been told that they need to be in the mix if an exit door swings open at a London rival.
It may be that Frank Lampard opts to join the chase if Rice, who spent time in Chelsea’s academy system between 2006 and 2014, is made available by his former employers at West Ham.
Ex-Hammers winger Jarvis believes a highly-rated holding midfielder would be a shrewd asset for the Blues, but admits that a much sought-after asset will not come cheap.
“He’s a very talented young player who’s obviously playing week in, week out at West Ham and also playing for England,” Jarvis told talkSPORT of Rice.
“He’s really got on to the scene and doing extremely well.
“He’s going to want to continue to improve and it’s just whether he feels if it’s the right time to move on or not.
“Chelsea are a club who are going in the right direction under Frank Lampard; the youngsters are getting their opportunities, so it would be a good fit for him to go in with a few other youngsters.
“He’s a completely different player to what Lampard was, but he [Lampard] obviously knows the role of a midfield player and he manages [N’Golo] Kante, who’s probably the best one in his role.
“It’s going to be a difficult decision for Rice to make because both the Manchester clubs may be interested in him.
“At the minute he’s playing week in, week out, and Gareth Southgate will want to be able to see him playing every week. He doesn’t want to be going to a different club and be sat on the bench and not playing, because that won’t enhance his place in the England set-up
“He’s a really important figure at West Ham. West Ham won’t want to let him go as he’s an integral part of their team, so they’ll be expecting, if bids are coming in, that they’ll have to be a lot higher than the usual one.
“He’s young and he’s playing for England already; you’ve got to be looking at probably above £50m in this market.”
Rice broke through at West Ham as a promising centre-half, but has thrived in a midfield post and now has 100 appearances for the Hammers and seven senior England caps to his name.