Chelsea’s board clashed with Frank Lampard over his insistence on signing former academy product Delcan Rice from West Ham United, according to The Athletic.
Lampard was fired on Monday, after the club’s recent slump in form, which has left the Blues ninth in the Premier League table.
Chelsea was under a transfer ban when Lampard was appointed in 2019 and he led the club to fourth place in his first season at Stamford Bridge, which was considered a success given the circumstances.
However, last month, he was given £225m which was splashed on the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell.
However, Lampard was far from content with the club’s outlay and he repeatedly demanded the signing of Rice from rivals West Ham.
The midfielder was released from Chelsea’s academy at the age of 15 but has gone on to establish himself as a full England international.
West Ham is realistic about their prospects of keeping Rice in the long-term but they wanted around £80m for the midfielder last summer, which Lampard felt was good value for money.
However, the board was uncomfortable with the optics of splashing out such a huge sum on a player that they deemed not good enough just five years ago.
They also felt the team was well stocked in defensive midfield and that other areas of the side required more urgent investment.
But Lampard continued to push for Rice’s signing and expressed on a number of occasions his desire to land the player at any cost.
However, it is clear that the board did not agree with Lampard over Rice and he was angered further when the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso and Emerson remained at the club instead of being sold.
The tension between Lampard and those above him grew further, as he requested the signing of Rice again before the January transfer window opened.