Former Chelsea assistant manager Jody Morris has claimed that he pushed for the Blues to sign Declan Rice long before he made his big-money move to Arsenal.
Morris enjoyed an 18-month managerial spell with the west London giants, where he was assistant to club legend Frank Lampard. He recently claimed that during their time at the club, he made attempts to sign Rice.
The English midfielder, who is a Chelsea academy product, was widely linked with a return to Stamford Bridge during his time at West Ham United. However, a move never materialized, and he ended up signing for bitter-rivals Arsenal in 2023.
Morris stated during an interview on the No Tippy Tappy podcast that Rice, at the time, would have cost Chelsea just £60 million. He revealed that although the player was keen on returning to Stamford Bridge, ‘the transfer was pushed behind a couple of other signings’ by the board.
He said (via Metro):
“I messaged him when we were there and said, ‘would you come back?’, because obviously, he was released from Chelsea as a 14-year-old.
“If you actually spoke to Dec, I don’t think that he would have thought that he should have been released. But there was quite a few of them that thought maybe he shouldn’t have been released.
“It’s probably the best thing for him. He’s gone on to amazing things at West Ham. But while he was there, going into the second season I was on at Lamps all the time going, ‘Dec would be unbelievable for us’.”
“We needed more legs because [N’Golo] Kante hadn’t played for us a lot. He’d only played about 40 percent of the time, he kept getting injured. And I said, ‘would you like Dec?’, and Lamps said, ‘I don’t know, I haven’t really seen enough of him’.
“About a month later, he was like I’ve been all over Dec since we’ve been having a closer look. I messaged Dec saying, ‘would you come back’, otherwise there’s no point Lamps going to have the conversations with anybody if Dec is still [not wanting to leave]. And he went, ‘no, no, I’m a Chelsea fan, of course I would’. So that got put in motion and Lamps started speaking to him. And it was on.”
“The upstairs at the club were speaking to his dad and talking about a few things. It was pushed behind a couple of other signings and didn’t get through.
“I think at the time they were quoting around £60 million, £65m, so that would’ve been an absolute snip.”
Rice would eventually join Arsenal in a £105 million transfer from West Ham United in the summer of 2023.
Mauricio Pochettino urges Chelsea fans to ‘move on’ and face reality
The Argentine tactician has urged Blues’ fans to get accustomed to the new culture at the club, stressing that they are no longer the same as the last 20 years.
The west London club have had a rough start to life under the new ownership of Todd-Boehly and Clearlake, which has left a large majority of their fans frustrated.
Speaking after their 3-1 FA Cup victory against Aston Villa in midweek, he stressed the need for the fans to be patient with the team.
He also added that supporters should move on from seeing the present Chelsea as the same side under the Roman Abramovich era. He said (via The Guardian):
“We need to stop this thing that we are Chelsea from 20 years ago. We are not this type of Chelsea any more. Now we need to move on and we need to create this project.
“We need to move on, I don’t care if people are happy or not happy with my speech. I care for the club, I care for my players, I want to help the players.”