Chelsea are keen on signing West Ham star Declan Rice with the Hammers fearing the midfielder could leave on a free transfer, Metro.co.uk understands.
The 19-year-old is a first team regular for the Hammers and is at the centre of a tug-of-war at international level between England and the Republic of Ireland following his rapid rise to stardom.
Rice spent seven years in Chelseas academy but joined West Ham at the age of 14 after he was released by the Blues.
The Hammers are aware of Rices growing reputation and theyve held talks with the midfielders representatives over an extension to his current deal that runs out in 2020.
Rices sudden rise means he still earns around £3,000-a-week, despite making 34 Premier League appearances for Manuel Pellegrinis side.
West Ham have offered Rice an improved deal of around £20,000-a-week to stay at the London Stadium but the midfielder has turned down the deal.
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Thats alerted former club Chelsea, who are willing to offer Rice wages of around £40,000-a-week, Metro.co.uk understands.
Should Rices refusal to sign a new deal continue until the end of the season, West Ham will be forced into considering selling the teenager rather than letting him leave on a free the following year.
Nevertheless, Rice knows hes in a strong position and wouldnt have a shortage of suitors should he choose to leave at the end of the current campaign.
Chelsea are searching for a permanent buyer for Tiémoue Bakayoko and are expected to let Danny Drinkwater, leaving Maurizio Sarri room to bring in his own recruits.
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Chelsea are keen on making Mateo Kovacics loan move to Stamford Bridge a permanent one at the end of the season but the Croatian is not giving up on his Real Madrid career.
Its too early for these questions, I am here and very happy, said Kovacic earlier this week.