Michael Brown has suggested Chelsea may not be front of the queue to sign Declan Rice from West Ham in a “big-money” deal in January.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Premier League midfielder revealed he “knows for a fact” that there are a number of top clubs looking at prising the versatile midfielder away from east London.
It is understood Chelsea are willing to listen to offers for the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Jorginho and Marcos Alonso after they failed to offload them over the summer window.
However, despite the well-reported, long-standing interest from Stamford Bridge, Brown believes there will be plenty of interest for Rice and suggested Frank Lampard’s men may not be the ones leading the charge.
Brown told Football Insider: “It’s gonna be interesting but it’s a big number, that’s the point, and it’s at what point someone wants to pay it. We know that, West Ham won’t want to lose him.
“It’s same as the Jack Grealish situation, at that point, if he keeps improving and he’s got a chance to go to a side that could win the title, then it’s a different story.
“I think there will be several top clubs looking at him, and not just Chelsea. I know for a fact he’s on a list of people, that’s what I know he’s on.
“He’s on a list and people are showing interest. He’s an England international, young player, different role that not anyone else plays.
“Yes, it’s not the top of the pitch, it’s not as attractive, it’s not a goalscorer but you’re looking at now, you watch Liverpool, they made a big decision regarding a goalkeeper and no one had spent that amount on a goalkeeper or a centre-back.
“This kid’s getting better and better and you’re going to see someone want to pay big money for him.”
In other West Ham news, Danny Mills has admitted he cannot believe what David Moyes has said about Rice.