Kevin Phillips has tipped West Ham to lose Declan Rice if they suffer relegation this season as Chelsea express interest.
The former Sunderland striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed Frank Lampard may see a bit of himself in the 21-year-old having started his career at Upton Park.
According to Sky Sports, Chelsea are keen to bolster their midfield this summer and are interested in the England international they released as a youth.
Rice has made 30 appearances in a disappointing campaign for the Hammers who currently sit 16th – two points above the drop.
Phillips insisted any potential transfer would hinge on whether David Moyes’ side are able to avoid relegation when the season resumes.
“He is a good player but he has perhaps gone off the boil but that is to be expected of a young lad who has played a lot of games, under pressure for a team that is down at the bottom of the Premier League,” he told Football Insider.
“It is no surprise he is linked with Chelsea because Frank has his connections at West Ham having started there as a young lad. He could go on and forge a career like Frank.
“But I do not think it is an area that Chelsea need to strengthen. They might splash a lot of cash on him because he is young.
“If West Ham go down I can see that happening but if they stay up it would take a lot of money.”
The defensive midfielder joined The Irons academy in 2013 having been released by the Blues.
A move across London would see Rice reunite with close-friend and England teammate Mason Mount.