Jody Morris reveals how close Chelsea were to re-signing Declan Rice before Arsenal transfer
Former Chelsea assistant Jody Morris has revealed how Declan Rice once expressed a wish to return to Stamford Bridge over text. Rice was heavily linked with a move back to the Blues ahead of joining Arsenal on a deal worth more than £100million during the summer.
Rice represented Chelsea as a youngster before joining West Ham United, and he went from strength to strength in East London. The midfielder has become one of the best midfielders in the world and one of Chelsea's biggest mistakes in recent decades.
It seemed to be a mistake they were willing to admit to in the form of buying Rice back for a huge fee, but a deal never materialised, and Arsenal would eventually get there first. But according to former Chelsea coach Morris, Rice was up for a return to Stamford Bridge.
“I messaged Declan Rice when I was at Chelsea, and I asked him whether he’d come back, even after being released by the club," Morris told the William Hill and Footy Accumulators’ podcast, No Tippy Tappy Football. "He was a centre-half back then and there were a lot of people who said he shouldn’t have been released when he was, but in hindsight it was probably the best thing for him considering all the amazing things he went on do at West Ham.
“I was always on Frank Lampard’s case saying how unbelievable Rice would be for us when N’Golo Kante kept getting injured and he wasn’t sure at first, but a month later he was all over him! So, we reached out to Declan on whether he’d want to come back and he said, “I’m a Chelsea fan, of course I would!”, and from then on Lampard was speaking to him and the upstairs members at the club were talking to his parents. In the end it got put on the back burner in favour of a couple of other signings.
“I didn’t end up going through, but at the time they were quoting around £60-65 million so that would’ve been a steal for someone who could have easily been at the club for 10 years. For me, Rice is top-drawer and I’m so excited about the England midfield we have at the minute. Rice has shown his worth in an England shirt and for West Ham and now at Arsenal with a better team and he’s performing week in week out.”