Chelsea discard midfielder flop, which may hinder Arsenal’s transfer plans

Kai Havertz of Chelsea (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Kai Havertz of Chelsea (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images) /

Chelsea are planning their best transfer strategy for the 2023 summer transfer window. Many would argue their strategy needs to change, since it’s previously failed due to solely focusing on hijacking Arsenal deals. But that’s not going to change anytime soon.

According to the latest report from Sky Sports reporter Florian Plettenberg, Chelsea will not sign Denis Zakaria on a permanent deal, after he’s not deemed good enough to play in the midfield. Therefore, the Blues’ top priority is to sign a number 6 (central midfielder) in the summer transfer window.

Uh oh.

This can only mean one thing – Chelsea’s priority transfer in summer will be Declan Rice. According to Plettenberg again, they are “definitely” in the race, having been interested in signing Rice for longer than Arsenal.

Arsenal can rely on one advantage – they have a higher chance of qualifying for the Champions League than Chelsea do. While Rice has never played in this competition, he’s certainly at that level and at this stage in his career, he’ll want to make that step up.

Furthermore, playing for Arsenal under Mikel Arteta is a much more attractive proposition than Chelsea under Graham Potter. Rice would also have a higher chance of getting game time at Arsenal, since their squad is of a normal size and they don’t sign players left, right and centre.

Whatever happens, expect there to be another bidding war between Chelsea and Arsenal. Who the player prefers clearly doesn’t matter to Todd Boehly, but Stan Kroenke won’t be bullied into paying over what he’s worth.

Where do you think Declan Rice will play next season?