Chelsea are contemplating ditching their bid to sign Declan Rice and waiting to sign Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Jude Bellingham, according to reports. Bellingham was wanted by Manchester United this summer but chose to take his talents to the Bundesliga.
Bellingham is widely regarded as one of the most exciting English talents at the moment.
The 17-year-old was playing for Birmingham City’s first-team under Pep Clotet as a 16-year-old, and saw his number 22 shirt retired when he chose to leave, such was his immense talent and potential.
He had been on a scholar’s contract at St Andrews, and had an offer on the table from United before opting for Dortmund.
After just a couple of months at the Signal Iduna Park, he earned his first England senior side call-up due to James Ward-Prowse’s injury.
Bellingham is just a few months into his three-year deal at the Bundesliga side, but already there are rumours that he is being lined up for a future transfer.
Chelsea, who have been after a new central midfielder, are looking at him as an option for the future, claims Eurosport.
The Blues went on a lavish spending spree this past summer, forking out nearly £250million on new recruits.
However, they missed out on signing West Ham youngster Rice after being told to pay out £73million.
They have been tipped to go back in for the 21-year-old this January – or next summer – but could now look elsewhere.
Eurosport claims that Chelsea officials like the idea of waiting until Bellingham establishes himself more as a world-class player before making a move.
The Blues apparently like the fact he can play anywhere through the middle of midfield, and are contemplating a move in 2022.
Rice seems unlikely to leave the London Stadium during the middle of the season, meaning a bid next summer is the most likely scenario.
Eurosport claims Chelsea officials are questioning whether they still need to buy Rice next summer or if they will be able to wait for Bellingham instead.
With N’Golo Kante still under contract until 2023, there is a sense at Stamford Bridge that if he can remain at the same level he currently plays at until 2022, they will ditch their bid to sign Rice.
The Frenchman has attracted interest from Inter Milan, but Frank Lampard is said to have told the midfielder that he is still an integral part of his plans.
Chelsea officials are also cautious of the fact that United will likely maintain an interest in Bellingham.
The Red Devils went all-out to try and sign him during the previous window, and rolled out the red carpet for him on a private tour of their training complex.
Sir Alex Ferguson was said to have given him a tour and personally urged him to sign for the club.
But in the end, Bellingham was swayed by Dortmund’s ability to nurture young talent – specifically with Jadon Sancho.
The young forward left Manchester City for Dortmund in 2017 after failing to break into the Citizens’ first-team side, and has gone on to become a world-class winger during his time in Germany.
Sancho is likely to leave before too long, and Chelsea could be inclined into thinking Bellingham will follow suit eventually.