Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has reportedly change his mind over the potential future role for Declan Rice.
The Blues have already spent more than £200m this summer and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is expected to become their latest acquisition from Rennes.
It has been reported that they could thereafter focus on signing Rice, though West Ham United are reluctant to consider his sale.
According to The Athletic, Lampard had initially planned to sign Rice with the aim of playing him at the heart of the backline.
However, he now sees the England international as a potential future player for the Blues in the centre of the park.
Chelsea have yet to make any formal bid for the midfielder, but they are likely to lodge an offer worth £70m in the coming days.
The Hammers are adamant that Rice is not for sale at any price this summer despite the fact that they have made no signings due to the lack of funds.