West Ham United

West Ham United

Premier League • England

Gigantic new fee touted as Chelsea, Man Utd battle for West Ham ace meets Real Madrid

West Ham pair Jarrod Bowen and Declan Rice

The looming battle to sign West Ham ace Declan Rice may now include Real Madrid, and one observer reckons the 23-year-old is now worth an eye-watering sum.

Rice, Kalvin Phillips and Youri Tielemans are unarguably three of the finest central midfielders the Premier League has to offer. None of the trio play for members of the traditional top six – a fact that has ensured transfer links are increasingly common.

Tielemans is expected to be sold in the summer after it became clear he won’t pen fresh terms with Leicester. It’ll take a great effort to prise Phillips away from boyhood club Leeds, but today’s updates concern West Ham’s Rice.

The holding midfielder has shown he is capable of far more than just the defensive dirty work this season. Rice is quickly developing into the complete midfielder, and the vultures are beginning to circle.

Man Utd have long been credited with interest. It’s easy to understand why given central midfield is regularly earmarked as their weakest position.

Adding further fuel to the fire were Rice’s recent comments on Gary Neville’s Overlap podcast. Rice insisted he does not want a trophy-less career, and it is unarguable that a move to a traditional powerhouse would aid his trophy desires.

Links to Chelsea have also ramped up in recent weeks. Monday’s Paper Talk (citing the Daily Telegraph) revealed Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia is willing to bankroll a blockbuster deal.

“Ancelotti will be in the race” for Declan Rice

However, according to Sky Italia journalist Gianluca di Marzio, competition is expected from Real Madrid.

Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti has seen first hand what Rice is capable of during his spell at Everton. According to Di Marzio, Ancelotti is certain to put Real in the race if they can finance a move.

“If there will be the possibility to have [Declan Rice], Ancelloti will be in the race,” said Di Marzio (via TribalFootball).

Marina gives Chelsea free light for Rice and Kounde transfers

Marina gives Chelsea free light for Rice and Kounde transfers

Chelsea’s number one target for this summer is West Ham midfielder Declan Rice along with Jules Kounde from Sevilla

“I don’t know which strategy will Real Madrid will have in the future – it depends on some players staying or going. For sure, Carlo Ancelotti likes him very much.”

Real’s interest makes sense given the age of their current starters in midfield. Ancelotti operates a three-man midfield, with Luka Modric (36), Casemiro (29), and Toni Kroos (32) his preferred triumvirate.

The suspiciously round figure of £100m has regularly been floated across the media as Rice’s price tag. But according to former West Ham striker Teddy Sheringham, Rice’s true worth is so much more.

Sheringham uses Harry Kane as justification

Sheringham put Rice’s true value north of £150m. A sale in that range would make Rice the third most expensive signing of all time, behind only Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Explaining his rationale, Sheringham said (via the Express): “For me, he’s up there with the top players in the world in midfield at the moment. There’s no denying that.

“I think Moyes said something about him being a £100 million player, didn’t he? I’d hold on to him and say, ‘I want more than that, this player’s unbelievable, he’s better than that.

“If you really want this guy you’re going to have to break the bank and show me you think of him as much as I do. I’m not letting him go for £100 million’.”

“When the best centre forward in the world was up for sale in the summer, Tottenham wanted £200 million for him. The other clubs didn’t have that valuation.

“I’m going up to £150m, £160m for Declan Rice.”

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