Chelsea have already spent big this summer, signing the likes of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz while a £20million deal for Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is expected to be announced imminently.
But Lampard is not finished in the transfer window and is still hoping to sign West Ham star Rice, though the east London club will demand as much as £80m for their Hammer of the Year.
Initial reports suggested Lampard wanted to convert Rice back into a central defender – where he played for much of his youth career – and viewed the 21-year-old as a way to fix his side’s porous backline.
But now The Athletic claim Lampard has had a rethink and will urge Chelsea’s hierarchy to open the chequebook one last time to bring in Rice as a defensive midfielder.
The Blues boss is unhappy with his defensive midfield options and does not view N’Golo Kante as someone suited to sitting in front of the defence, with the Frenchman at his best when pressing and harrying higher up.
But West Ham will play hardball over Rice and do not want to risk upsetting their fans – and players – even more by selling the midfielder, having faced a huge backlash following the departure of Grady Diangana.
Chelsea feel Rice may have to force the issue in order for a move to happen by handing in a transfer request, though it seems unlikely he would do so despite being open to returning to west London.
Lampard, meanwhile, could still face a headache trying to convince Chelsea’s decision makers to sign Rice, with a previous report claiming some at the club felt the youngster had not rectified the weaknesses in his game that prompted them to release him when he was 14.