West Ham United

West Ham United

Premier League • England

Rice drops West Ham bombshell to rouse Man Utd, Chelsea hopes over record-breaking transfer

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice

Declan Rice has rejected a third West Ham contract offer and is now ‘open’ to leaving, and a report has revealed the status of Man Utd and Chelsea’s interest.

The midfielder, 23, is arguably the finest player the Premier League has to offer currently playing for a club outside of the traditional top six. Rice continues to take his game to new heights year after year and will be England’s main man in the middle at the Qatar World Cup later in 2022.

At club level, Rice has shown he has far more in his locker than just tackles and interceptions this season.

His game as a box-to-box midfielder grows ever more accomplished with each passing week. As such, it’s come as no surprise to learn Manchester United and Chelsea have been monitoring his progress.

The two giants have long been linked with a blockbuster swoop for the Hammers ace. Links with Chelsea have their roots in Rice’s past. The midfielder spent nine years in Chelsea’s system between 2006-14.

United, meanwhile, have long seen their central midfield options become the subject of savage criticism.

Nemanja Matic has announced his intention to move on this summer, while Paul Pogba will become a free agent on June 30.

Fred and Scott McTominay always give their all, though whether they have the quality Man Utd desire is another matter entirely.

Declan Rice rouses British record transfer talk

West Ham and David Moyes especially have always maintained Rice is not for sale. However, the latest report from the Guardian could be the beginning of a softening of that stance.

Written by transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, the Guardian’s article claims Rice has ‘turned down a third offer’ of a contract extension at West Ham. What’s more, Declan Rice is now described as ‘open’ to a transfer as soon as this summer.

It’s reiterated that West Ham have no desire to sell whatsoever.

The club are on the rise under Moyes and have a Europa League semi-final with Eintracht Frankfurt on the horizon. Success in that competition would see West Ham qualify for the Champions League for the first time in their history and that’s something Man Utd may not be able to match.

Also aiding West Ham’s cause is the claim Rice ‘will not allow his commitment or professionalism to drop.’ The England ace is fully aware of West Ham’s strong stance on a sale and will not become a problem if made to stay.

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His current deal does not expire until 2024 and West Ham hold an option to extend it by a further 12 months. That puts them in a bargaining strong position, though if Rice is adamant he won’t pen fresh terms, an exit will be inevitable at some stage.

Moyes has insisted the bidding for his star man will start at £150m. The closer Rice gets to the end of his current deal, the more likely West Ham will be to accept a cut-price fee.

His stock has never been higher than the present day and this summer would represent the perfect time to cash in.

Man Utd’s interest in pulling off what would be a new British record transfer is confirmed. The current figure stands at the £100m Man City paid Aston Villa for Jack Grealish last year.

However, the Red Devils reportedly aren’t prepared to stretch to the £150m price tag despite Rice being their ‘No 1 target’ in midfield. Whether they could convince West Ham into selling if a lower offer were lodged, only time would tell.

Chelsea’s ‘longstanding interest’ is cited, though their transfer plans won’t become clear until their new owners are in place. With N’Golo Kante and Jorginho now the wrong side of 30, the time for a refreshing of the ranks is coming soon.

Man City are claimed to be on the hunt for a new midfielder. However, the chances of signing Erling Haaland and Rice in the same window are deemed incredibly slim.

As such, if there were any inkling West Ham were receptive to a blockbuster sale this summer, Rice’s next destination would likely be Chelsea or Man Utd.