Former Chelsea assistant manager Jody Morris claims Arsenal star Declan Rice was close to a return to the Blues

Former Chelsea assistant manager Jody Morris has claimed that Arsenal superstar Declan Rice nearly returned to Stamford Bridge.

Speaking on a podcast for gambling company William Hill, Morris recalled how the defensive midfielder was released from the Chelsea academy at the age of 14. He revealed that before the start of the 2020/21 season, the west Londoners nearly signed Rice for £60-65 million.

Morris said:

“I was on at Lamps all the time. Dec would be unbelievable, we needed more legs because Kante hadn’t played for us a lot and kept getting injured. But Lamps at the time said, ‘I don’t know, I haven’t seen enough of him.’ And then a month later, he was like, ‘I’m all over him.””

He added:

“Then I messaged Dec saying ‘would you come back?’ and he said ‘Of course I would, I’m a Chelsea fan.’ And then it was on, but then it was pushed behind a couple of other signings and then didn’t get through. At that time, they were quoting about £60 million to £65 million.”

The England international would remain with West Ham United and eventually complete a stunning €116.6 million move to Arsenal in the summer of 2023. He played 245 games across competitions for the Hammers and led them to the Europa Conference League in 2023 before departing.

Since moving to the Emirates Stadium, Rice has been a standout, contributing with four goals and as many assists in 24 league matches from a defensive midfield position.

Mikel Arteta ‘happy’ with Arsenal star Declan Rice’s impressive display against West Ham

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Mikel Arteta

Arsenal completed a resounding 6-0 win against Declan Rice’s former team, West Ham United, in the Premier League on Sunday (February 11). During his return to the London Stadium, the 25-year-old was impressive, contributing with two assists and a goal.

Rice found the net in the 65th minute with a sweet strike from outside the box. On the night, he managed a 93% passing accuracy and delivered four of his five attempted crosses successfully.

Addressing the midfielder’s performance, Arteta said (via the club’s official website):

“I’m really happy with him because it was a very emotional and special day for him. He loves West Ham so much, and today he had to focus on the task and what he had to deliver.”

After Sunday’s win, Arsenal are third, level on points with second-placed Manchester City and two behind leaders Liverpool. However, the Cityzens have a game in hand on both their title rivals.

Edited by Nihal

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