Chelsea legend Frank Lampard has revealed that he tried to sign West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice while he was the Blues boss. Rice was strongly linked with a move to Stamford Bridge last summer but the Blues were not able to pull off a move for him.

Lampard spoke to Goal about the failure to sign Rice. According to the ex-Chelsea manager, it was an open secret that he is a big fan of the West Ham player and that his club didn’t want to let him leave last summer. Lampard said the Hammers know they have a quality player on their hands. He praised Rice whom he described as a leader.

England international Rice has been linked with a host of English clubs in the last one year as a result of his good form for the Hammers. Apart from Chelsea, the midfielder has also been linked with a move to Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City.

Rice was a top target for Chelsea while Lampard was the manager and it remains to be seen if his successor will retain the interest in the West Ham player. The Blues hierarchy appointed German tactician Thomas Tuchel as the new manager in place of Lampard after the Chelsea legend was sacked in January. Lampard spent 18 months as the Blues boss before his dismissal at the start of this year.

Lampard attained legendary status at Chelsea after over a decade of service at the club. He’s the all-time leading goalscorerin the history of the club till date. He was appointed as the Chelsea manager at the start of last season and the former Derby County boss impressed in his first season at the club as manager. Lampard was able to lead Chelsea to Champions League qualification despite not being able to sign new players due to a transfer ban. He led the Blues to fourth spot at the end of his first campaign as Chelsea manager.

He lost his job as the Chelsea manager on the back of a poor run in the league. Lampard left the team in ninth place but his successor Tuchel has been able to take the club to fifth place on the Premier League standings.