Manchester United have been linked with West Ham’s Declan Rice.
The Red Devils have been linked with several players during the January transfer window with speculation surrounding Rice’s future remaining in the air.
United have reportedly been looking to sign the 22-year-old for some time and will be hoping, due to the Hammers’ hit-and-miss form in December, that they can lure him to Old Trafford in the future.
One potential barrier to this move happening could be West Ham’s asking price. It is believed they value Rice at £100m, a fee not usually splashed out in the January transfer window.
However, with United looking to pip the Hammers, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to a top-four place, bringing in a player of the midfielder’s quality would certainly help. The Sun say that United have been boosted in the race to sign Rice due to West Ham’s form of late.
West Ham’s stance
West Ham are aware of the Red Devils’ interest in Rice and know they aren’t the only club eyeing the 22-year-old, with reportedly Chelsea and Manchester City monitoring his situation.
Irons’ boss David Moyes is not panicking to sell the England international due to his contract at the London Stadium having two years remaining on it, and the club able to exercise an additional year on that.
“Declan’s under a long contract here, under a long length of contract,” said Moyes. “So from that point of view we’ve not got a big panic on.”
This added to the club’s ambition to finish in a top-four spot this season means they are under no pressure to let one of their best players leave anytime soon.
Talking on the radio station, he said: "If I’m Declan Rice, I’m seeing my England teammates playing Champions League finals and playing Champions League games at the highest level. That’s exactly what he’s going to want to do.
"If West Ham can’t offer him that football, it’s only going to be a matter of time.
"The likes of Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice are starters for England. They’re going to be wanting to be playing in those top competitions. For me, I don’t see Declan Rice signing a new deal.
"I think in the summer they will have to sell him. Unless they get top four, Declan Rice for me will leave."
Potential City hijack
Despite the Red Devils looking favourites to sign the midfielder, neighbours City could look to steal Rice from under United’s noses - a move Graeme Souness thinks the Premier League champions should do.
The Scotsman feels Rice would be an ‘obvious replacement’ for Fernandinho, with the latter’s contract up at the end of the campaign.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Souness said: "Jack Grealish’s transfer from Aston Villa to Manchester City for £100m means that’s where the bidding is likely to start for Rice, who’s four years younger at 22.
"City already have the strongest group of players in the history of English football, but still collect the best players they can.
"Yes, they have Rodri, but Fernandinho’s 36 and in the final six months of his contract, so Rice is an obvious replacement because they have the finances and are buying when they are on top.
"City, Chelsea and United will all pay a premium for Rice. The only argument you can offer if you’re buying is that he’s not a striker and that’s where the big money generally goes. It might take Rice to another level."