West Ham have rejected Chelsea’s ambitious swap deal for star midfielder Declan Rice, according to reports.
The Blues are keen to strengthen their options even further this summer with the 21-year-old and are believed to have offered Michy Batshuayi and Ross Barkley in exchange.
But The Times state that West Ham rebuffed the proposal and will continue to stand firm over their £80million valuation.
Despite the heavy interest in Rice, who starred once again last season, the club are reluctant to sell the England international to Chelsea.
The attempted bid from the Stamford Bridge outfit has been met with further complication due to West Ham not being interested in taking on either of the other players as part of the swap.
Barkley and Batshuayi have largely been reduced to bit-part roles from the sidelines and Chelsea were hopeful of bringing down the cash value of the offer by offloading both outcasts.
Frontman Batshuayi scored just one league goal last term, and Barkley has often struggled to impose himself as a regular performer in the heart of midfield.
Chelsea are thought to have chosen the two unwanted stars due to West Ham having previously tried to sign Batshuayi and David Moyes’ experience coaching Barkley at Everton.
Targeting reinforcements for his backline and midfield has become a priority for Frank Lampard over the coming weeks.
Chelsea have identified Rice as a perfect solution due to the player’s versatility and prowess in a deeper-lying role.
The club would reportedly attempt to convert Rice into a centre back should they seal the deal in the market.
Rice was predominately fielded as a central midfielder for West Ham last season and featured in every minute of the Hammers’ league campaign.
He had been released by Chelsea as a youngster before West Ham swooped to bring him into their own academy system.