Chelsea perform Declan Rice U-turn as Marina Granovskaia identifies ‘better buy’

Chelsea: Tuchel suggests Champions League is up for grabs

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Chelsea are set to perform a transfer U-turn on Declan Rice and instead pursue a target whom director Marina Granovskaia views as a ‘better buy’. Despite being one of the biggest spenders in the Premier League in the window preceding this season, the Blues are once again set to be active in the summer.

One of the areas they are believed to be ready to prioritise is central midfielder, with Jorginho failing to kick on.

Frank Lampard had long viewed Declan Rice as the man to fill that gap while he was Chelsea manager, with Blues linked with a move for the midfielder last Autumn.

Rice has impressed at West Ham, being named captain by David Moyes, with the Hammers challenging for a spot in the top four of the Premier League.

The 22-year-old has been an ever-present in defensive midfield under Moyes, earning himself a starting spot in Gareth Southgate’s England squad in the process.

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Rice’s standing as one of the country’s best defensive midfielders attracted Lampard, who was believed to want to convert him into a centre-back.

But with Lampard having been sacked in January after a disappointing first-half of the season, the Blues’ plans have changed.

New boss Thomas Tuchel has found a system that gives his team the defensive solidity missing under Lampard.

That switch has also led to a change in transfer strategy, with Eurosport now reporting that Chelsea are turning away from a move for Rice.

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Instead, they report that the Blues are now looking at Borussia Dortmund Jude Bellingham, who himself has earned call-ups to the national team this season.

Bellingham has thrived in the Bundesliga since making a £25million move from Birmingham City to Germany.

Playing more as a traditional box-to-box midfielder than Rice does, Bellingham was superb against Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals.

He had a goal controversially ruled out in the first leg, before netting a superb opener in the reverse fixture on Tuesday.

The fact he is still only 17-years-old also gives a mouth-watering prospect of what the midfielder can be capable of.

Bellingham’s versatility, he can play as a No.4, No.8 or a No.10, and his maturity have now left Chelsea’s recruitment team viewing Bellingham as the ‘better buy’.

Though Eurosport report the Blues are the club ‘most interested’ in him at this stage, the Stamford Bridge side will face tough competition for his signature.

Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City are all in the race to sign him, though the player himself is believed to be happy to stay in Dortmund for the time being.

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