Chelsea are planning to contact West Ham with a fresh Declan Rice bid in January but will have to sell at least two senior stars first, Football Insider understands.
The west Londoners are ready to follow up their extraordinary summer recruitment drive with a mega-money move for the Hammers’ prize asset.
A Chelsea source has told Football Insider the club need two big-money sales to free up cash for new Rice swoop.
The club are planning to listen to offers for senior stars including Jorginho, 28, Antonio Rudiger, 27, and Marcos Alonso, 29.
Chelsea were unable to offload them in the summer, which is partly why they could not lire Rice, 21, from the London Stadium.
West Ham have long been aware of the west Londoners’ interest and are braced for a January bid.
There was contact between the clubs over the summer, and various offers and formulas were suggested, including part-exchange deals.
Frank Lampard and his assistant Jody Morris are both big admirers of the versatility and pedigree of Rice.
They like the fact he can play in defence and central midfield, and believe he has the potential to play at elite Premier League and Champions League level.
West Ham’s public stance is that Rice is not for sale and they are not encouraging any bids.
Privately, Chelsea have been given some by both Hammers chiefs and the player himself.
Rice has played every minute of West Ham’s eight Premier League matches this season and already has 118 senior appearances under his belt even though he does not turn 22 until January.