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Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Jurgen Klopp's Declan Rice call creates path for Marina Granovskaia's final Chelsea masterclass

  David Moyes would be made to look a little foolish if West Ham sold Declan Rice for anything less than £100m at this point. "If y...


David Moyes would be made to look a little foolish if West Ham sold Declan Rice for anything less than £100m at this point. "If you are interested, well, it will be north of that [£100m]. One hundred was cheap last summer." Moyes said about his admired midfielder after The Hammers beat Everton 2-1 on Sunday.

"One hundred and fifty million just now would be minimum, but he is not for sale". Moyes has consistently been asked about Rice's future, with rumours linking the 23-year-old away from the London Stadium as more suitors line up ahead of a major summer window.

Next on that list of interested parties is apparently Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool. As noted by Football Insider on Sunday night, Liverpool are targeting a new central midfielder this summer, and Klopp's number one choice is the England international. This further proves how hot a commodity Rice has become with his current contract ticking down.

Chelsea have tracked Rice for several years after the club released him at the age of 14 after coming through the Academy. Even after Frank Lampard, a huge admirer of Rice was sacked, Thomas Tuchel reportedly is a fan of the player, eyeing him as a potential midfield option last summer.

But any transfer plans have been dashed over the past month after Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK Government in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This prevents Chelsea from signing or selling any current players. The bidding process for the club's next owner is still ongoing.

Given the record-breaking nature of any potential fee for Rice, when Chelsea's sanctions do get lifted, and the club can spend again, an alternative target may prove the shrewdest option as the club aims to strengthen for next season. Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni has been an obvious target for over a year now, with initial negotiations taking place last summer with the player's representatives despite a move never materialising.

The interest in the French international has not dwindled, and as The Athletic reported back in January, Tchouameni sat on a wishlist with Rice and Jules Kounde for this summer. Whether that wishlist remains at all relevant after the chaos of the past month is hard to gauge.

Marina Granovskaia could give one final transfer gift to Chelsea by securing his signature in 2022, with interest also rampant from several of Europe's top clubs threatening to beat the Blues to him. As Saturday's collapse to Brentford proved, Chelsea has lacked a certain profile of midfielder since the sale of Nemanja Matic in 2017 to Manchester United.

Although N'Golo Kante is defined as a "defensive midfielder", anyone who watched Kante can tell you how far away his skillset is from the classic "holding role". Tchouameni would offer that thought won't come as cheap as he could have last summer when fewer people knew his name.

His continued development in Ligue 1, also becoming a regular for his nation since September in a midfield duo with Paul Pogba, has expectedly caught wider interest, and Monaco will not waste this upcoming opportunity to maximise a profit on one of Europe's hottest prospects.

Though, as Granovskaia has shown in major deals for the likes of Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell in recent years, she can negotiate a price down that is more favourable for incredible talent. Groundwork has already been done on Tchouameni. For the new owners to make a statement of intent, signing him this summer would be a major coup for Tuchel.

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