West Ham United are keen on signing Chelsea playmaker Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the January transfer window but reportedly face a tall order in convincing Maurizio Sarri to let him leave - but the Hammers could play a trump card.
The Daily Mirror claim the 22-year-old is a target for the Hammers ahead of the January transfer window, but Sarri is already said to have informed his side's London rivals that Chelsea have no intention of selling the England international.
Despite starring at the World Cup, the former Crystal Palace loanee has only been afforded six appearances in all competitions. He has shown he has what it takes to shine for Chelsea, though, with four goals.
Three of those came in the Europa League, as the Blues beat BATE Borisov 3-1 at Stamford Bridge. West Ham want to land the midfielder to give their side an attacking edge from deep with Manuel Lanzini still injured.
But with Sarri unequivocal in his stance over Loftus-Cheek's future, it seems unlikely West Ham will land the fleet-footed playmaker. Unless, Manuel Pellegrini uses a potential trump card.
That trump card could be in the form of Declan Rice, who is reportedly interesting Chelsea after rejecting multiple offers of a new contract from West Ham. His current deal expires at the end of the season.
Chelsea will be unable to land Rice on a free transfer until the end of the season, with clubs from the same country barred from completing pre-contract agreements under the Bosman ruling in January.
If Chelsea were to sign Rice, they would have to pay a transfer fee in the upcoming winter window. West Ham could use that to their advantage.
Instead of succumbing to what is becoming more and more inevitable, losing Rice on a free, the Hammers could include Rice in a swap deal for Loftus-Cheek and finally tempt Chelsea into parting ways with their academy product.