Liverpool and Chelsea have taken a big step closer to signing a top-class England star after his current club admitted defeat in trying to keep him, according to a report.
England are currently preparing for their second World Cup game, which is against USA on Friday evening. They will be looking to remain top of Group B with another victory, following the 6-2 thrashing of Iran in their World Cup opener.
Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka (2), Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish all scored for the Three Lions. Arsenal winger Saka won the man of the match award after his exceptional display out on the right flank.
He got England’s second goal in the 43rd minute by firing into the top corner on his left foot, following a Harry Maguire knockdown. After Sterling made the score 3-0, Saka secured his brace by cutting inside and finding the far bottom corner, with the Iran goalkeeper left standing.
Saka was the star of the show, which was great to see after his penalty miss in the Euros final last year and how he was treated by those on social media after that.
Another player who impressed against Iran was Declan Rice. The West Ham midfielder bossed the centre of the park alongside Bellingham.
Just like at West Ham, Rice provides the screen in front of the defence. This allows Bellingham to get forward and join the attack when England are on the front foot.
But Rice isn’t just a defensive midfielder. He can also race forward with the ball, dragging either West Ham or England up the pitch rapidly. And the 23-year-old is great at finding the net from long range, too.
Liverpool and Chelsea both want England man
On Monday, a report revealed Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp to be a ‘huge’ admirer of Rice. As such, Liverpool scouts will apparently monitor his performances throughout the World Cup.
They want to see if he has the mentality to deal with the scrutiny and big-game pressure of playing at a World Cup. And Rice should be able to cope with this, given his big role in helping England reach the Euros final in 2021.
On Tuesday, the Daily Express put Chelsea in line for a jaw-dropping double swoop for Rice and Bellingham. It could cost as much as £280million and would completely revamp their midfield.
Football Insider have now given an update on Rice’s future, and it seems to be great news for the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea.
They state West Ham ‘expect to lose’ their captain in the 2023 summer transfer window. That is regardless of whether they manage a good finish in the Premier League or triumph in the Europa Conference League this campaign.
West Ham have made multiple contract offers to try and sort out Rice’s long-term future. But he has rejected these proposals, and his current deal expires in summer 2024.
Declan Rice set for huge transfer in 2023
This means next summer will probably be the best opportunity for the Irons to sell him for a huge fee.
David Moyes has previously valued him at £100m, and then £150m. But if he enters the final year of his contract, then the latter sum would not be possible. This makes a £100m exit more likely.
West Ham are gradually becoming accustomed to the fact they will likely lose Rice at the end of the season. And he will probably end up at either Liverpool or Chelsea, given their respective ambitions to improve their midfield options.
Rice would be a fantastic signing for either ‘Big Six’ club. He has proven himself to be one of the best central midfielders in the Premier League over the past few seasons.
And the fact he is West Ham’s captain at 23 years old shows how highly he is regarded at the London Stadium.
One factor which could sway where Rice ends up is his close relationship with Chelsea star Mason Mount. They were in the Blues academy together, before Rice’s release at 14.
Rice and Mount remain very good friends. And if Mount gets his way, then the West Ham star would reject Liverpool in favour of a transfer to west London.
If Chelsea do win the pursuit for Rice, then Liverpool may go after a Bundesliga midfielder instead.