Chelsea’s Boehly has £280m Rice and Bellingham bill due to Granovskaia

Pep Guardiola says Germany has been good for ‘whole package’ Jude Bellingham

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Chelsea owner Todd Boehly could find himself digging deep into his pockets once again if the Blues are intent on signing England duo Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham next summer. And the American billionaire will not be thanking Marina Granovskaia, the club’s previous transfer chief, as he faces a potential £280million bill to capture the pair.

Bellingham has emerged as one of Chelsea’s top targets in the summer of 2023 as Graham Potter lines up long-term replacements for Jorginho and N’Golo Kante.

The 19-year-old showed his star quality with a phenomenal display in England’s dominant 5-1 win over Iran in their World Cup opener on Monday, a performance that will only increase the clamour for one of Europe’s most coveted stars.

Chelsea are among four clubs chasing Bellingham’s signature after being given encouragement by Dortmund that they could sell the starlet if he wants to leave. Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester City are also monitoring his situation, with any deal likely to cost in excess of £130m.

That would make Bellingham the fourth-most expensive player of all time, and there will be some regret from Chelsea’s side that they were unable to lure him to Stamford Bridge when he was 17, having joined the Bundesliga giants for a fraction of the price at £25m.

There is a similar feeling of frustration from Boehly if the club decide to move for Rice. The 23-year-old is under contract until 2024 but wants to play in the Champions League, although West Ham’s insistence on valuing the England international at around £150m is likely to scare off any potential suitors.

Rice had been a long-term target for the west London club – who actually released him as a teenager from their academy – when Frank Lampard was in charge up until January 2021. But Granovskaia aborted plans to bid for Rice for around £70m when they sacked Lampard, replacing the Englishman with Thomas Tuchel.

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While Tuchel was a fan of Rice, the German understood Chelsea’s necessity to sign a new central striker was more pressing and the club paid £97.5m to sign Romelu Lukaku in August that year. West Ham slapped a £100m price tag above Rice’s head, and with no team willing to pay, he remained with the Hammers.

Given that both players could have been signed for under £100m, Boehly faces forking out another huge sum to acquire at least one of the stars of the future.

The 48-year-old has already spent over £300m signing eight new players, in addition to firing Tuchel and appointing Potter and his staff. And for that, he will not be keen on thanking Granovskaia anytime soon.

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