England fans sing Sweet Caroline outside of Wembley
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Euro 2020 is over, which means attention once again turns to club football and, more specifically, the currently-open transfer window. Chelsea in particular are expected to go all-out in order to bring in new recruits, but England’s brave display against Italy in Sunday’s showpiece final at Wembley proves Marina Granovskaia may have to alter her plans.
Chelsea have long been expected to bring in a new centre-forward this summer.
The Blues have been eager to reinforce their attacking options, despite forking out for Timo Werner and Kai Havertz last year.
Werner, who cost £53million from RB Leipzig, failed to have much of an impact during his first Premier League season, leading to suggestions he could be replaced with Erling Haaland or Romelu Lukaku this summer.
But following England’s display on Sunday night, it would be hard to argue that a move for Declan Rice wouldn’t be a better signing to make.
The West Ham midfielder has been linked with a move to Chelsea for some time now, and Frank Lampard was desperate to sign him before being sacked in January.
Rice put in a fantastic performance at Wembley and bossed the midfield prior to being taken off for Jordan Henderson with 20 minutes to go.
Despite being up against an Italian midfield of Jorginho, Marco Verratti and Nicolo Barella in what was the biggest game of his life, Rice rose to the occasion in style, constantly driving the ball forward and playing key passes through for team-mates.
After a slightly disappointing showing against Denmark in the semi-final, Rice can be proud of his efforts throughout the tournament after his performance against Italy, and David Moyes will now feel his £100m valuation of the midfielder has been vindicated.
Rice, 22, will go on to be a key figure for England for years to come, and it seems far more likely than not that he’ll be at the core of Gareth Southgate’s team for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Chelsea officials meeting at Cobham to discuss transfer plans might well decide to make the England star their top target once again and put plans for a new striker on the back burner.
N’Golo Kante, 30, and Jorginho, 29, will need to be replaced before too long, and Rice seems the perfect long-term heir to their midfield spots at Stamford Bridge.
A striker, on the other hand, is far less of a pressing matter, especially considering the talent of Havertz as a false nine.
The German youngster looked sublime when played through the middle, and could well help unleash Werner next season if his compatriot plays as an inside forward.
Havertz’s versatility also allows him to play as an attacking midfielder, with Werner playing up top and using his pace to sit on the last defender and get in behind.
That tactic was good enough to win Chelsea the Champions League, and the signing of either Haaland or Lukaku would mean a departure from that.
Next season, Haaland will be available for just £68m, and a strong season will likely push Chelsea towards the front of the queue, especially seeing as they’re one of the few teams with the financial firepower required to sign the Norwegian phenom.
Lukaku will also be a year further into his Inter Milan contract and could be available, as could Kylian Mbappe – if he runs down his Paris Saint-Germain deal – so he could potentially be an option.
Ultimately, it seems that for now, all roads lead to Rice.
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