Pochettino is due to sign his contract at Stamford Bridge in the coming days and has already had plenty of opportunities to discuss his plans for the summer transfer window, including a desire to see midfielder Mason Mount handed a new contract.
During those talks, the Chelsea board’s long-standing interest in Rice was put to Pochettino and sources have confirmed to 90min that the Argentine would be keen to lure the West Ham man across London.
Chelsea are looking to sign a new midfielder this summer. While they continue to push for a contract extension for N’Golo Kante, there are doubts over the futures of Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Conor Gallagher and it is understood that strengthening in midfield is a key part of Pochettino’s vision for the Blues.
West Ham are prepared to part ways with Rice but are well aware of his value in the Premier League and would look for a fee of at least £100m to sell the midfielder, who still has two years remaining on his contract and would command an enormous fee even if he remains at the London Stadium for a further 12 months.
Competition is also fierce for Rice, with the majority of the Premier League’s elite all sensing an opportunity to lure the England international away this summer.
Arsenal have emerged as a leading suitor and Rice is understood to be interested in a move to the Emirates, but there is also interest from Manchester City, Manchester United and Newcastle.
As for Chelsea, the Blues have drawn up a long list of midfield targets aside from Rice and are known admirers of Southampton’s Romeo Lavia and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Manu Kone, among others.
Pochettino is also eager for Chelsea to bolster in goal and at striker, with the Blues doing scouting work in both positions well before Graham Potter’s dismissal from the dugout earlier this year.