Chelsea opted against pursuing both Declan Rice and James Maddison this summer as they looked to target younger players with a less ‘premium’ price tag, it has been reported.
Both Maddison and Rice had previously been linked with moves to southwest London, but both ended up playing in north London by the end of the summer transfer window instead.
Rice completed a £105m move to Arsenal from West Ham, then a Premier League record transfer, while James Maddison made the move to rivals Tottenham in a deal worth £40m.
Both players have enjoyed strong starts to their careers at their new clubs too, with Maddison having picked up the Premier League player of the month award for August.
So, why didn’t Chelsea try and move for the pair?
Well, according to the Telegraph it was because they felt that Maddison was too old, with the club instead prioritising youth.
They claim that the Blues ‘set a 25-and-under rule on their incoming summer business as the club looked to build a squad that could see them through the next decade’.
And though Declan Rice fitted within this category, they were also put off signing the West Ham skipper because they felt the Hammers demanded ‘what they felt to be an English premium’ for the ex-Chelsea academy boy.
Of course, they then went on to smash Rice’s price tag in their signing of Moises Caicedo from Brighton, who could cost as much as £120m when add-ons are realised.
Though it may be savvy to build a squad on younger players, the start to the season that Chelsea have had (winning just one of their first six games and currently sitting 14th) suggests that players like Maddison and Rice could well have come in handy for Mauricio Pochettino and his side.