“I’m a Chelsea fan” – Blues came so close to £105m midfield star for half price

 Former Chelsea coach Jody Morris’ appearance the “No Tippy Tappy Football” podcast had some interesting – and painful – moments for Blues fans.

When he discussed how close we came to signing Declan Rice while he was at the club, that was certainly one of them. He explained how he had persuaded Frank Lampard to take a closer look at the midfielder as he shone at West Ham:

“I was on at Lamps all the time going, Dec would be unbelievable for us. We need more legs because [N’Golo] Kante hadn’t played for us a lot. He’d only played about 40 percent of the time, he kept getting injured. And I said, would you like Dec? And Lamps said I don’t know, I haven’t really seen enough of him.

“About a month later, he was like I’ve been all over Dec since we’ve been having a closer look. I messaged Dec saying would you come back, otherwise there’s no point Lamps going to have the conversations with anybody if Dec is still [not looking to leave]. And he went, no, no, I’m a Chelsea fan, of course I would. So that got put in motion and Lamps started speaking to him. And it was on.

“The upstairs at the club were speaking to his dad and talking about a few things. It was pushed behind a couple of other signings and didn’t get through. I think at the time they were quoting around £60, £65 million, so that would’ve been an absolute snip.”

Rice eventually joined Arsenal last summer for £105m, but before that we were always leading the race.

The painful truth was that we all knew this all the way along.

We could have had Rice for £30m, then £60m in successive summers and he would have jumped at the chance, then by the time he was ready to leave, he was worth more than £100m we’d turned into a fiery mess and couldn’t tempt him to join.

It just goes to show how important timing is in football. Waiting for a better deal can end up costing you tens of millions of pounds.

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