Chelsea told to move on key midfielder to beat Manchester United in race to land Declan Rice

Chelsea have to sell midfielder N’Golo Kante to land West Ham and England international Declan Rice, according to the Daily Mail.

The Blues have been linked with a move for the 23-year-old for a number of years, though they face competition if they wish to sign him in the summer transfer window.

Manchester United have also shown interest in the youngster, who’s improved in the past few seasons to become a key player for both club and country.

The Red Devils are set to make a number of signings in the summer, with a rebuild prepared under their next manager once they are appointed.

Rice was a former Chelsea academy player, though he was released at the age of 14 before making the move across London to West Ham.

Thomas Tuchel could begin building his squad for the future, with key midfielders Jorginho and Kante already into their final 18-months of their contracts and are now into their 30’s.

However, if the Blues do wish to land Rice this summer, the Daily Mail reports that Kante will have to be moved on.

The Frenchman has been an important player since joining from Leicester in 2016 for around £30million, having won a Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, Europa League, Europa Super Cup and a World Cup in his time at the club.

Rice has also previously claimed to have watched Kante to improve his own game. Talking to The Times in 2020, he said: “The main one I’ve always watched is Kante in my position, the way he protects the back four, the way he intercepts, always in position.

“I think I’m fairly good at that but there are still things I can do that can take me to the next level.”

Whether Tuchel and the Chelsea hierarchy decide to extend Kante’s contract or not may depend on their future for the midfield, though Rice’s studying and likening of his game could make him the perfect replacement.

Kante has still shown his importance in recent years, most notably his Champions League semi-final performance against Real Madrid last season.

It may be a risk, but one necessary to land Rice, according to the report.

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