Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel “really wanted” the club to complete a deal for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice in the transfer window just gone.
What’s the word?
The journalist states that Rice is the one big name that Chelsea failed to land in the window just gone, with the Hammers demanding £150million for their captain – a fee that did not faze Tuchel who remained eager to seal a deal for the England star.
Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, Phillips said: “I know for a fact that Thomas Tuchel really wanted Declan Rice. At the start of the window, he was talking to staff at Cobham about how much he wanted Rice and he was definitely a target that Tuchel put to the new owners as well.”
Boehly failed him
Three aspects immediately spring to mind when Rice and Chelsea are mentioned.
Firstly, the signing of the 23-year-old “destroyer”, as dubbed by Andrew O’Brien, would have served as a huge statement of intent from new owner Todd Boehly’s perspective.
Secondly, if Tuchel really did want the club to sign Rice, the move should have been prioritised before other signings for the future were made – especially considering Tuchel’s lack of options in the Chelsea engine room.
Finally, from the player’s perspective, Chelsea is one of the few options that would offer the star development to his game.
Mostly, Tuchel makes use of the 3-4-2-1 system that has served Chelsea so well over the years. It’s a system that relies heavily on a two-man engine room that requires midfielders to perform in a box-to-box manner (in Tuchel’s system), all whilst asserting stability in the form of central superiority throughout the mid-third to support the pivot players out wide.
The system requires the midfielder to be adequate in both parts of the game, which is where Rice could have capitalised on a method of even faster development.
Operating in Tuchel’s Chelsea set-up would give the 23-year-old more responsibility across the in-possession parts of the game and would develop his attacking threat in what would be a bid to mould the star into a more well-rounded asset.
With his average of 6.13 progressive carries, with 2.22 of these being carries into the final third, Rice has what it takes to function in a two-man midfield and could look to build on his average of 1.72 shot-creating actions without having to prioritise the defensive side of his game.