Chelsea keeping tabs with West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice. The London giants are set to ‘test the water’ with an opening offer for England international, reports say.

Chelsea first expressed interest in signing Declan last summer transfer window under former coach Frank Lampard, but the German manager is also keen to welcome the midfielder to the London club.

The 22-year-old midfielder, in fact, started his football career at Chelsea, spending almost a decade at Blues’ academy before being released in 2014 and joining the Hammers.

Rice, who can also play at centre-back, has since developed into one of West Ham United’s best footballers and is valued at £100m by the Hammers.

David Moyes’ charge are trying to price the English midfielder out of the market, with the Blues hoping to secure his signature for nearly £60-70m. While the Hammers are reluctant to lose Declan, Eurosport say the Blues are preparing to ‘test the water’ with an opening bid for Declan.

It is claimed the English midfielder would ‘jump at the chance’ to join the Blues and will continue to refuse to sign a deal extension at West Ham United as Declan seeks a come back to Chelsea.

Declan is believed to be concerned about the Hammers’ ambition as they are yet to strengthen David Moyes’ squad this transfer window and are ready to miss out on a permanent deal for Man United attacker Jesse Lingard, who thrived whilst on loan last campaign.

Man United have also been linked with a move for Declan over the past 12 months, and former Arsenal footballer Ray Parlour says there will be ‘a lot of takers’ for the English midfielder this transfer window.

However, he hopes Rice remains at the London Stadium. ‘He was probably one of England’s best midfielders in the Euro 2020 final,’ Parlour told talkSPORT. ‘He’s a great player. I’m sure they will come to an agreement where he signs a new contract, and that secures West Ham as well.’

The Blues’ transfer chief Marina Granovskaia has made England international a primary target for Chelsea and are primed to offer out-of-favour centre-forward, Tammy Abraham, as a lightweight in the agreement.

Tammy fell out of favour under the German manager when he arrived in winter, starting only three games since Thomas Tuchel succeeded Frank Lampard at Chelsea.

The Blues are confident that offering Tammy will reduce West Ham United’s asking fee, with reports suggesting they are demanding up to £100m for his services.