Lampard admits he was a 'big fan' of Rice – but could not sign him

Frank Lampard admits he was a ‘big fan’ of Declan Rice but could not pull off signing at Chelsea despite lauding West Ham star as ‘a leader destined for great things’

  • Frank Lampard spoke very highly about Declan Rice during a Q&A on Friday
  • The former Chelsea boss revealed he tried to sign the 22-year-old midfielder
  • However, the move didn’t come off for ‘various reasons’ as West Ham stood firm 
  • Rice has become instrumental for club and country in his best-ever campaign
  • David Moyes last month said that Rice is worth ‘far, far more’ than £100million

Frank Lampard has revealed he wanted to sign Declan Rice when he was Chelsea manager and has spoken in glowing terms about the midfielder. 

The 22-year-old has captained West Ham regularly over the last year and is now a pivotal part of Gareth Southgate’s England squad ahead of this summer’s Euros.

Chelsea were often linked with Rice throughout Lampard’s tenure and the former Blues boss has spoken about his admiration for the midfielder during a Q&A session for the Willow Foundation on Friday and said that the transfer didn’t come off for ‘various reasons’.

Frank Lampard has spoken about wanting to sign Declan Rice during a Q&A session on Friday

The 22-year-old has been instrumental for West Ham as they have moved into the top four

‘We are fortunate to have him in England, West Ham are fortunate to have him. He’s a leader and it is clear that he’s destined for great things,’ said Lampard. 

‘I have probably given it away with how I spoke about him but I think it’s common knowledge that I was a big fan of his.

‘It didn’t happen for various reasons, but we brought in a lot of players in the summer. But I was a big fan of him. 

‘For understandable reasons, West Ham know the player that they have on their hands. 

‘I don’t want Declan to be in an uncomfortable position through this because all I see from him is absolute performance and desire to play for West Ham. 

‘They gave him the chance there and the choice will be Declan’s as the years go ahead, but his performances are great to watch.’

David Moyes claimed last month that his prize asset is worth ‘far, far more’ than £100million

Rice is currently out injured after picking up a knee problem during the most international break as West Ham sit fourth, one point above Chelsea in fifth. 

The Hammers have been the Premier League’s surprise package this season under David Moyes, with the Scot claiming last month that his prize asset is worth ‘far, far more’ than £100million. 

Lampard’s relationship with club director Marina Granovskaia reportedly soured as the pair clashed over whether to sign several players including Rice, with the former eventually losing his job in late January after a shocking run of form saw Chelsea go from topping the table in early December to moving eighth after picking losing five times in eight games.

Lampard clashed with Marina Granovskaia (right) over signings before Thomas Tuchel came in

The 2-0 reverse against Leicester was the final straw for the board, who quickly brought in Thomas Tuchel as Lampard’s replacement on an 18-month contract.  

Tuchel’s appointment has had the desired effect, with Chelsea now on the cusp of the top four, into the last four of the FA Cup and with one foot in the semi-finals of the Champions League after a 2-0 win away at Porto in the first leg of their tie.  

As well as talking about Rice, Lampard’s Q&A also saw him discuss his relationship with Roman Abramovich, his views on England’s chances this summer, whether he’s received any managerial offers since his sacking and his response to criticism of Mason Mount. 

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