Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard has confirmed that his top target may eventually join the club in January and that will settle the back and forth.
Lampard insists that there are no regrets from the club about allowing Declan Rice to leave as a youngster, as the Blues continue to be linked with a £70m transfer next month.
The West Ham midfielder, who is now a regular starter in Gareth Southgate’s England side, was released by the Blues at the age of 14 before being picked up by the Hammers.
And ahead of the two sides meeting at Stamford Bridge on Monday evening Lampard praised Rice, saying he ‘deserves personal credit’ for his impressive first-team breakthrough, as Chelsea continue to be linked with a big-money move for the 21-year-old.
The 21-year-old midfielder has been a key figure in West Ham’s impressive start to the season
Chelsea were strongly linked with a summer move for Rice but he stayed in east London and has been a key influence in an excellent start to the season for David Moyes’ side.
Rice is best friends with Chelsea attacking midfielder Mason Mount, who is also a team-mate at international level.
West Ham go into Monday’s clash just one point behind Chelsea – but Lampard admits his attitude towards his former club has ‘mellowed’ since he became a manager.
Asked if it meant more to play the Hammers, he replied: ‘It did when I played but as a manager it doesn’t.
‘Maybe I’ve mellowed but I focus on what’s necessary for the club. I see it as another game. An important one after two defeats in a row.’
Lampard’s side are looking to bounce back after consecutive defeats on the road in the past week to Everton and Wolves.
Meanwhile Moyes’ side drew 1-1 at home in another London derby, against Crystal Palace, on Wednesday night.
West Ham did the double over Chelsea last season, winning 1-0 at Stamford Bridge last November and 3-2 at the London Stadium in July.