Declan Rice bombshell rocks West Ham with Man Utd, Chelsea among three primed for £100m+ transfer battle

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice

Declan Rice will leave West Ham in the summer of 2023 and the early favourite to secure his signature out of Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea has been named.

The West Ham captain, 23, is one of the finest midfielders the Premier League has to offer and a guaranteed starter for his country.

Rice’s game has continued to develop over the last 18 months, with more of a box-to-box feel added to his game.

He’s unflappable in even the most pressurised of environments and a step-up to one of England’s biggest hitters has long been predicted in his future.

For their part, West Ham have done all they can to tie Rice down to fresh terms.

His current contract expires in the summer of 2024 and the Athletic report Rice has rejected no fewer than three extensions. The latest – an eight-year offer worth £200,000-a-week back in May – would’ve made Rice the highest paid player in Hammers history.

However, Rice has repeatedly voiced his desire to play in the Champions League. Try as they might, that’s not a demand West Ham can satisfy and with Newcastle on the rise, the battle for top four is fiercer than ever.

Now, the Athletic report West Ham have finally admitted defeat and have ‘conceded internally’ they must now sell Rice next summer.

Declan Rice transfer will break Premier League record

His contract does contain a club option for an extra 12 months. It’s suggested West Ham will trigger the option, though that’ll only be to protect their bargaining position and ensure they’re able to extract maximum value.

On that front, it’s stated West Ham value Rice at £100m at least. Any move on that scale would set a new Premier League record. The current mark is held by Man City upon signing Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for exactly £100m.

Three clubs are cited in the piece as being viable landing spots for Rice. Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea are named, and Rice’s past connection to the Blues is deemed to make them favourites.

Rice was on Chelsea’s books between 2006-14 and is known to be close friends with Mason Mount. Chelsea are – more often than not – a Champions League contender and in Todd Boehly, have an ambitious figurehead who’ll continue to splash the cash.

The American part-owner is determined to sign a corps of young and hungry players who are desperate to win trophies. Stars aged 25 and under will be targeted from now on and Rice ticks every box the Blues require filling.

They expect to lose Jorginho to free agency next summer. N’Golo Kante is also primed to become a free agent at season’s end and it’s not guaranteed the Frenchman will be retained. Losing one – or both – will embolden Chelsea to land Rice.

Chelsea keen to avoid past mistakes

Furthermore, Chelsea have been burned in the past by players they let go in the early stages of their careers.

They infamously had both Mohamed Salah and Kevin de Bruyne on their books and both went on to become Premier League greats for Liverpool and Man City respectively. They don’t want Declan Rice being added to that list.

From the player’s perspective, it’s noted Rice wants his West Ham exit to be amicable. In other words, he won’t hand in a transfer request and will not publicly angle for a move.

However, that’s not to say he’ll be content for West Ham to reject all offers. And if any of United, City or Chelsea do come in with a record-breaking bid, it now appears West Ham have decided the summer of 2023 is the time to cash in.

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