How Chelsea could line up with Declan Rice

:Headline: How Chelsea could line up with Declan Rice: ID:404805: from db_amp
Sports Mole looks at how Chelsea could line up next season if they are able to sign West Ham United star Declan Rice.

While Chelsea have already announced the arrivals of attacking pair Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, there remains a desire to complete further high-profile signings before the beginning of next season.

A player said to remain high on Frank Lampard's shortlist is Declan Rice, whose future at West Ham United is currently uncertain as the Hammers bid to remain in the Premier League.

Although relegation would force West Ham into the sale of their most prized asset, the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic may also lead to Rice being allowed to join a bigger club this summer.

Despite West Ham being against the England international linking up with a city rival, Chelsea are one of the few teams in Europe who can afford the versatile 21-year-old.

Here, Sports Mole takes a look at where Rice may feature in Lampard's starting lineup, taking into account other business which could take place in order to accommodate his arrival.

During his time at the London Stadium, Rice has been used as the most defensive-minded player in the middle of the pitch, either in a two or three-man partnership.

However, at some point in the future, he is expected to make the full-time transition into a centre-back, a position which Chelsea desperately need to strengthen over the coming months.

With N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Billy Gilmour likely to be competing for two spots in the team next season, that will likely leave Rice in line to become first-choice in a back four.

Although Jorginho's potential sale would lead to Rice being required further forward at times, Lampard could show preference to using him alongside either Fikayo Tomori or Antonio Rudiger.

While Rudiger has been less than convincing of late, the Germany international is expected to remain at Stamford Bridge next season to help compatriot Werner settle into life in West London.

Given his attributes and stature, Rice may prefer that Lampard uses a back three on a more regular basis, allowing him to play in the middle of the defence with players either side of him.

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