Chelsea leading race for 21-year-old Premier League midfielder

West Ham United are set to guard with Chelsea making a renewed push to sign Declan Rice in January by doubling his salary. Blues boss embarked on a near-unprecedented summer of spending at London club, signing seven new footballers to the squad which finished third last campaign and reached the FA Cup final.

Frank Lampard was successful in landing the majority of his crucial targets but was unsuccessful in securing the services of the 21-year-old midfielder who he is said to view as a solution to his problems at back-line.

West Ham United are preparing to make England international the Hammers highest-paid footballer, eclipsing Felipe Anderson, who joined Porto on loan last week, and Andriy Yarmolenko who has struggled to maintain his fitness and levels of consistency since joining the club two years ago from Borussia Dortmund.

Hammers value Declan at £80m and were not prepared to alter their valuation and despite Blues genuine interest they failed to submit an official offer during the course of the summer window.

Rice’s standing and importance to Hammers was underlined last month by David Moyes revealing that he thought the midfielder was the perfect candidate to succeed the long-serving Mark Noble as club captain.

Moyes said: ‘We have still got a long way to go in the window, maybe somebody has the Bank of England but nobody has shown that. It was always the plan, there was no intention to lose Declan Rice. We have had no bids and no enquiries. There is a lot of speculation but I can only tell you what I know.’