Declan Rice has little interest in moving to Manchester United and would favour the “obvious” choice if he leaves West Ham, a report claims.
Rice has been heavily linked with a move to a club of Champions League calibre after impressing for West Ham over the past few years.
Man Utd would be a prime suitor if the 21-year-old was to be on the move. They have given a platform to several homegrown players – whether from their own academy or those of other clubs – in recent years.
It was recently claimed that United would make a move for Rice at the end of the season. However, that may be a gamble, as Chelsea are keen to sign the England international this month.
The Blues spent heavily in the summer transfer window, but Rice was the one target that got away.
Indeed, Chelsea have been wondering what might have been with Rice for a number of years now. He previously came through their academy ranks but left for West Ham at the age of 14.
Since then, he has proven himself in the senior ranks, emerging as a leader for West Ham over recent months. Rice was named as the club’s player of the year last season.
As his stock continues to grow, Chelsea could be more and more tempted to try and lure him back across London. However, they would face competition from a Man Utd side offering him a different escape route.
Fortunately for Chelsea, though, it appears Rice has no interest in listening to that option.
According to The Mirror, Rice has his heart set on a return to Chelsea if he does leave West Ham.
The newspaper cites a source “close to the player” as saying: “Dec has been flattered by interest in him but he doesn’t see himself moving to Manchester.
“It’s obvious where he’d like his next move to be.”
West Ham hoping to keep Rice
Reports have indicated that it would cost at least £80m to prise Rice away from West Ham. His current club are fighting to keep him, though.
There has been talk of a new contract for the youngster, which would include a significant payrise. However, the report from The Mirror says there has been no update on that front yet.
Therefore, bids could come in to test West Ham’s resolve – although they would still be looking for an expensive fee.
Rice remains under contract until 2024, with the option of a further year. Thus, there is little pressure on West Ham to agree his new contract, even if they would like to give him reassurances over his pay packet.