Chelsea are expected to make contact with West Ham over a potential move for Declan Rice this summer, according to reports.
The 22-year-old is a 'priority signing' in the midfield department for the Blues if they decide to move for reinforcements, as per Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano.
However, West Ham have maintained their stance on their academy graduate and insist that Rice will be sold for any amount of money amid rumours linking him with a blockbuster move to Stamford Bridge.
It has been reported recently that Blues boss Thomas Tuchel has been 'promised' a huge transfer budget by Roman Abramovich ahead of the new campaign, as the west London side look to build on their European success by targeting domestic glory next term.
Speaking on the latest episode of The Football Terrace's The Done Deal Show, Dean Jones claimed that Chelsea are expected to make a formal approach for the England international, with Rice considered a 'priority target' by the club's hierarchy.
Moreover, the midfielder is heavily interested in joining Chelsea this summer, with the west London outfit in the driving seat in the chase for the midfielder's signature.
Rice has attracted interest from several Premier League sides following a stellar 2020/21 campaign for David Moyes' side, after recently rejecting two contract offers at the London Stadium.
Jones said: “Let’s call it an informal enquiry. Chelsea are definitely going to go to West Ham and ask what’s it going to take [for Rice's signature]. They’re going to do it because they want to know [the Hammers' asking price].
“Even if they [Chelsea] don’t decide to pursue it after that point, they need to get the ball rolling, they need to know how possible it is and they know that the player wants to come.”
Rice is 'interested' in listening to any offers submitted for him, and would be 'disappointed' if West Ham refuse to sanction a sale if a club puts a bid in the region of £60 million on the table.
However, it has emerged that Rice will not hand in a transfer request or try and force his way out of West Ham, as the Englishman holds his current employers in high regard.
What Thomas Tuchel has said on summer acqusitions
“Two or three (signings) could be very, very good. It’s a constant thing to never deny change; that you always bring new energy, new guys who question the old beliefs, who challenge everybody in the training and in matches, so I think it’s a good thing.
"We don’t need another seven and another complete turnover because it’s also our job to keep on improving, because we have still a young squad and it’s not about stealing from them the chance to prove it again, that they are capable of growing and evolving. But we have some ideas, of course, to make the group stronger, and I think this can always be a positive thing to challenge all of us."