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Chelsea learn £110m opening bidding price for midfielder if they want to make last-ditch transfer swoop



(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Chelsea look set to miss out on Declan Rice this summer despite long-standing interest in the West Ham midfielder.

Arsenal have emerged as front-runners for the 24-year-old, who will leave West Ham, chairman David Sullivan confirmed after their 2-1 win over Fiorentina on Thursday to win the Europa Conference League final.

“We promised him he could go,” Sullivan told talkSPORT. “He set his heart on going. You can’t ask for a man who has committed more to us this season.

“In due course, he has to get on and we have to get a replacement — or several replacements. It’s not something we want to happen. We offered him £200,000 a week 18 months ago. He turned it down.

“It’s cost him £10 million to stay at West Ham in that time (in lost wages). He wants to go. You can’t keep a player who doesn’t want to be there.”

He added: “I think the offers will start to come today (Thursday). There are three or four clubs who have shown interest, but out of respect to West Ham, while we’re still playing, you don’t make offers for players. That’s not the way decent clubs do things.”

Rice was, unsurprisingly, asked about his future immediately after Wednesday’s triumph in Prague.

He said: “At the moment there’s a lot of speculation going on about my future. Obviously there is interest from other clubs but ultimately I still have two years left at West Ham.

“I love this club and I love playing for this club. There hasn’t been anything yet. My focus is playing for West Ham at the moment. I am captain of this club and I can’t speak highly enough of this place. Let’s just see what happens. Let’s wait and see. Who knows?”

Manchester United and Bayern Munich are also showing interest in Rice, while Chelsea appear to be unlikely to make a late move despite expressing interest in recent seasons.

However, should they make an attempt to move for Rice at the last minute, as reported by The Sun, West Ham will start a £110 million bidding war.

Chelsea’s current interest appears to be leaning towards Brighton & Hove Albion’s Moises Caicedo and Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia.