West Ham United midfielder and reported Chelsea target Declan Rice has been pictured with former Blues legend John Terry on Instagram, amid speculation of a return to Stamford Bridge.
Second time in a week
The defensive-midfielder had already been spotted with ex-Chelsea striker Didier Drogba earlier this week, while on holiday with former academy teammate Mason Mount, and today’s photo with the legendary Stamford Bridge captain, has led to many fans believing the midfielder is on his way back to the west London outfit.
Terry, who is evidently a fan of the 21-year-old, hailed Rice as an “Unbelievable player,” on his Instagram post, and certainly would have relished the opportunity to play alongside him, albeit on the left side of defence.
Chelsea fans ready to welcome Declan Rice back
Some fans assumed the former Chelsea skipper was persuading Rice into making a move to the west side of London and commented, “CAPTAIN LEADER LEGEND AGENT.”
Others made reference to his previous photo antics with Drogba and suggested a picture with club manager Frank Lampard could follow.
“Yesterday Drogba, today Terry, so tomorrow it would be a picture with Lampard maybe?”
However, former Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor hinted at a possible acquisition for the Midlands outfit: “Sign him up mate.”
Mason Mount could be a factor
To fans, Chelsea’s iconic entourage appear to be luring Rice west London-bound, yet another key component could be the involvement of close friend Mount.
The players rarely shy away from their ‘bromance’ on social media, having developed together through the ranks of The Blues’ academy and now the England national set-up too.
The pair often holiday together and share banter on Twitter and Instagram, highlighting their friendship, which could be the catalyst for a potential reunion at Stamford Bridge.
Both players have grown in stature for their respective clubs, with Mount helping Chelsea to a fourth placed league finish and FA Cup runners-up, and Rice helping to keep The Irons afloat in the league.
Unlike Mount, Rice left The Blues permanently in July 2013 at the age of 14, and has since established himself at the London Stadium. The England international has become one of The Hammers‘ diamonds in the rough of east London, and has reportedly been monitored by Mount’s side.
The Pensioners allegedly tabled a bid in the region of £50 million, according to the likes of Metro, to acquire the services of their former academy product. However, West Ham have denied the claims, indicating to Sky Sports, that Rice has a higher valuation and is not on the market.
Do Chelsea need Declan Rice?
It would come as no surprise if The Blues were keen on the player. This campaign, the Blues conceded the most goals of any top-half side and recorded their second-worst defensive display since the Premier League‘s creation.
Rice, who made his senior competitive debut against Burnley on the final day of United’s 2016-17 league season, played a pivotal part in each of their previous three campaigns.
His stellar performances in his second full campaign, led to him making his senior England debut against the Czech Republic in March 22 2019.
He played every minute of West Ham’s league campaign this term and helped keep seven clean sheets. The number was two less than Chelsea achieved, but was arguably remarkable for a more-vulnerable side, who finished 27 points behind The Blues.
The 21 year-old can play in a combination of shielding positions and it is this versatility, which makes him a terrific option for The Blues, who have struggled with persistent injuries to N’Golo Kanté.
He is a natural leader on the pitch, as aspect that has eluded Chelsea since the departure of Terry, and has a good understanding of the game. He gets into good defensive positions to help break up attacks and starred in The Hammers’ 3-2 victory against The Blues. His record against his former side includes two wins, two draws and one defeat.
With West Ham five points clear of relegation this campaign, Rice will want to avoid another close-call next season.
It remains to be seen where Rice’s immediate future lies, but with increased chances of silverware at former club Chelsea, the midfielder will need to ponder whether his future career includes titles or potential relegation.
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