Chelsea are reportedly planning a transfer deal with West Ham which would see Declan Rice move to Stamford Bridge and Tammy Abraham go in the opposite direction.
According to The Athletic, Blues transfer chief Marina Granovskaia has made Rice a top target and knows he wants to join the club, so will offer Abraham in return in a bid to prise him away from the London Stadium.
Chelsea had Rice on their books in their academy since he was eight years old, but released him when he was 14 – a decision they have come to rue.
It is no secret the west London club want to re-sign the midfielder, whose stock has risen considerably following his brilliant rise at West Ham and superb displays with England at Euro 2020.
Blues boss Thomas Tuchel is said to be an admirer of the 22-year-old, and he is willing to allow Abraham to leave to lower the asking fee for the player.
Abraham fell out of favour under Tuchel when he arrived in January, starting just three matches since he succeeded Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are confident offering Abraham will reduce West Ham’s asking fee, with reports suggesting they are demanding up to £100m for his services.
Former West Ham and Chelsea striker Carlton Cole, who made a combined 324 appearances for both London clubs, reckon the time is right for Abraham to leave the Blues.
“You get to a point where you’ve got to know your worth”, Cole told Tuesday’s Breakfast show.
“He’s gone on loan, did well at Aston Villa and Swansea, gone back to Chelsea and they still don’t value him in a way that he feels he should be valued.
“He didn’t play the back end of last season and he’s not in Tuchel’s plans obviously.
“Tuchel obviously doiesnt fancy him so I’d look at other options so he can be the main man here.”
Asked if West Ham can afford him, Cole added: I think so, yeah. I don’t know the chairman’s pockets but they have spent on other players, so why not?
“A place like West Ham is good form him. The only thing I’m sceptical about is his hold up play, so he can use me as a coach!”