Long-term Manchester United midfield target Declan Rice has admitted he dreams of playing Champions League football.
The West Ham man has rapidly developed into a wanted man in the Premier League. The 22-year-old, who will be heading to the Euros with England this summer, was wanted by old Chelsea boss Frank Lampard. United have also been linked with the player on several occasions.
And the Manchester Evening News claimed last month that United continue to hold a firm interest. The paper also claimed, in a development, that Rice himself took action over his interest.
Rice reportedly talked to Red Devils captain Harry Maguire and left-back Luke Shaw at the latest England camp.
The players discussed ‘aspects of United’, however, the report does not give any more detail on their negotiations.
In fact recent minutes from a fans’ forum, which Murtough and technical director Fletcher dialled into, on April 16 have corroborated that.
The speakers, listed as ‘JM&DF’ said: “Darren noted that they had heard that from players going away with England [and] other national teams that people have started to ask questions about Manchester United again.”
Rice though has spoken of his focus to play at the top level and that could well be with West Ham.
The Hammers are just three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with four games to go.
“To have that Champions League music playing, that’s where I want to be,” Rice told BBC’s MOTDx.
“It’s special, I can’t really describe it to be honest. As a kid it’s your dream, first of all to play in the Premier League, but to be competing for the Champions League [as well].
“You know West Ham, people say (we’re) a midtable club and last three seasons we’ve been battling relegation. But this, what we’re doing now, has always been there. It was just about when. We’re on fire.
“We’re on course to have West Ham’s best ever season in the Premier League. That in itself is an achievement and the fans are buzzing. There’s a great chance that we are going to get some sort of European spot.”
United made aware of Oblak opportunity
Meanwhile, transfer intermediaries have made Manchester United aware of an opportunity to sign Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak, a report claims.
The Slovenia international has made himself one of Europe’s best in his position since moving to Spain in 2014. He has almost breached the 300-appearance mark and is his country’s captain, having earned 36 caps. However, speculation has arisen over his future ahead of the summer window.
Oblak will have two years left on his deal at the end of the campaign. As such, a decision over his next move is on the horizon.
Asked recently about his future, though, he teased the prospect of a big Premier League move.
ESPN now claims that the stopper has a genuine interest in a summer move to England.
The report also claims that England’s ‘Big Six’ could get a cheaper deal than his release clause states.
His contract comes with a €120million (£104million) exit fee, but Atletico’s financial troubles mean that they could accept ‘serious bids’ lower than that figure.