Declan Rice left Chelsea aged 16 (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
Chelsea hero Frank Leboeuf believes his former club have made a “huge, big mistake” in the transfer market.
The Blues were the biggest spenders last summer, with Todd Boehly overseeing a £280m window.
This saw Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibably and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang move to Stamford Bridge.
But the Blues were heavily criticized for the chaotic nature of their window, with Boehly doing much of the work despite his inexperience.
Chelsea are expected to invest significantly again at the end of the season, regardless of whether the club is in the top four or not.
But Lebouef says the club made a “big” mistake years ago when they allowed Declan Rice to leave the club and now they are paying the price for letting him go.
Rice is now an England regular (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Speaking ahead of his country’s World Cup quarter-final clash against England, the Frenchman spoke to Rice.
“I have a real soft spot for Mason Mount because of my relationship with Chelsea,” Lebouef told Ladbrokes at the launch of his free World Cup half-time test.
“He’s such a smart player, although I don’t think he was as efficient as he can be early in the tournament. But you know he has the tools to be successful, so I have no doubt he still has something to offer. Harry Maguire has come in for a lot of criticism in recent weeks, but it’s clear that he’s one of Gareth Southgate’s favourites. However, he’s done a great job in Qatar so far. Maguire has always been very good for the national team, and it’s a game completely different to the Premier League, when you are on this international stage.
“But I can’t not mention Declan Rice. Declan Rice really is the future of England. Chelsea made a huge mistake by letting him go all those years ago.
‘Defensively, I think Southgate has to face a reality in this tournament; his players have to work harder. My main concern with England has always been that the players have put their clubs ahead of the national team, and that is a real mistake. But there seems to be real harmony within the team right now, so maybe that’s just a thing of the past. But still, you have to find real chemistry, and that’s Southgate’s job in Qatar; he needs everyone to be on top of their game defensively.”
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