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Chelsea set to step up Declan Rice pursuit in January

Chelsea are set to step up their pursuit of West Ham and England midfielder Declan Rice in January, the Blues having been linked with the Hammers star throughout the previous window.

Despite having made a host of major summer signings before the October deadline, there is still a feeling that Frank Lampard isn’t quite done yet in shaping up a squad that will be ready to challenge over the coming seasons.

That fact has been laid bare already this season, with the Blues not quite having the start to the season that many anticipated, picking up just nine points from six games, including their most recent drab draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford.

While that ‘big six’ clash may have seen Chelsea claim a clean sheet, the story of their season so far has been an inability to keep the ball out of the net, conceding three against both Southampton and newly-promoted West Bromwich Albion.

For that reason, it would appear the Blues will look to strengthen defensively in January, the Daily Star reporting that Chelsea is set to heighten their pursuit of defensive midfielder Declan Rice.

The England international can be deployed at both centre-back and holding midfield and would provide a defensive nous that has been lacking so far this season.

At the centre of an in form West Ham side Rice has been superb, with his ability to break up play and cover his defensive unit no doubt an attractive quality for those onlookers at Stamford Bridge.

The 21-year-old has already made over 100 Premier League appearances for the Hammers, although it was at Chelsea where he began his youth career, lining up alongside the likes of Mason Mount and Reece James in the academy set-up.

Any reunion with those fellow England colleagues could well be on the horizon soon, yet his current club are aware they will face a major backlash from fans if they allow their academy graduate to join their London rivals.

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