Declan Rice: Manchester United and Chelsea target profiled
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Declan Rice opened his Premier League season with a solid display as his West Ham side left Tyneside with a 4-2 victory over Newcastle United. In a summer where he has attracted interest from the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United, his performance could once again reignite rumours that he is destined for bigger things.
The 22-year-old’s afternoon did get off to a shaky start thanks to some mesmerising footwork from Allan Saint-Maximin.
The Frenchman left Rice red-faced on the right flank before getting his cross in for Callum Wilson to put the Magpies ahead.
Nevertheless, Rice bounced back to put together a solid game, including three successful take-ons and two chances created.
His team followed suit, with second-half goals from Said Benrahma, Tomas Soucek and Michail Antonio ensuring that the Hammers left with all three points.
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West Ham, led by David Moyes, performed over the odds to finish sixth in the Premier League last term.
The Scotsman was intent on keeping his group together over the course of this summer, in order for the side to build on what they already have.
Wherever he has gone, Moyes has attempted to construct a side in his own image and stick to it religiously, and Rice forms a key part of that in east London.
As a result, a £100million price-tag was slapped on his head in order to ward off interest from the likes of Chelsea and Man Utd.
So far, the tactic has proven effective, and on paper it looks as if the midfielder will stay put beyond transfer deadline day.
Chelsea have Jorginho, among others, who enjoyed a superb Euro 2020 campaign and is currently firing on all cylinders.
Furthermore, the Blues have recently splashed £98m on Romelu Lukaku, making the prospect of spending the same astronomical fee once again fairly unlikely.
A future move cannot be ruled out, however, as Rice remains good friends with Mason Mount from their time together in Chelsea’s youth academy.
United are also linked with Rice, although they have also spent heavily this summer on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.
Paul Pogba’s decision to stick around and see out the final year of his contract at Old Trafford is also likely to push a move for Rice further down the United priority list.
The fact still remains, however, that Rice is a young man in demand – and in 2022, the Hammers must be prepared for renewed interest in their star man.
His opening weekend display against Newcastle will do little to change that, perhaps serving as one last cry to call one of England’s biggest clubs to launch a bid this summer that would properly test the Hammers’ resolve.
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