In-demand West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has a decision to make over his future this summer… having rejected TWO contract offers, the England star has handed a boost to Manchester United and Chelsea – but who would be the best option for him?
- Manchester United and Chelsea are both keen on West Ham star Declan Rice
- Rice, 22, is currently catching the eye with England at Euro 2020 this summer
- His performances have only raised his profile with big money bids on the cards
- At the end of the tournament, Rice will have a decision to make over his future
- Here, Sportsmail handily weighs up all the options for the in-demand midfielder
While Declan Rice is away with England making history this summer, his future at West Ham is mired in uncertainty.
The no-nonsense midfield anchor has revelled in hurtling into tackles at Euro 2020, all the while underlining his status as one of the Premier League’s finest midfield enforcers, and there is no shortage of interest in him.
Both Manchester United and Chelsea are understood to be keen on moving for the 22-year-old, and the two clubs were recently handed a boost with Rice refusing to pen an extension at the London Stadium.
Manchester United and Chelsea target Declan Rice has starred at Euro 2020 with England
It was revealed that Rice is keen to test himself in the Champions League, and his decision to turn down the offer of a new deal sent out a clear message that he may be open to a new challenge.
As a result, either of the ‘Big Six’ teams may decide to swoop in and test the Hammers’ mettle, although reaching an agreement for Rice appears nigh on impossible currently.
This is because Rice’s contract still has three years to run, and it also contains the option of a further year. West Ham are keen to tie him down to new, big-money terms and ward off the interest from elsewhere.
But with Rice hesitating, the door is certainly ajar for a move away, and he is quite simply spoiled for choice. With that in mind, Sportsmail has taken a look at the potential destinations for Rice, and delved into whether he should stay put.
West Ham stalwart Rice has rejected new contract offers and wants to be informed about bids
It is no secret that United are on the lookout for a new midfielder this summer, and Rice may fit the bill perfectly.
Whether or not they will even be able to afford the move is in question after £73m Jadon Sancho arrives and talks began over Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane.
But if a deal is possible, United’s ambitions to ‘unlock’ Paul Pogba may finally be realised. Rice would likely compliment him and Bruno Fernandes perfectly.
Rice would start for Man United as part of a double pivot, ahead of the likes of Fred (right)
Comfortable on the ball, brave and proud to wear his heart on his sleeve, Rice has all the hallmarks of a United midfielder.
He would play ahead of the likes of Fred, Scott McTominay and perhaps even Donny van de Beek, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tending to favour a two-man pivot.
The ambitious project under Solskjaer may also help entice Rice across to Old Trafford. The foundations are there after two years on a steady upwards curve.
United would offer Rice a hefty boost on his current earnings at West Ham, too, and compliment this by trying to clinch trophies on all fronts.
Rice (seen with Harry Maguire) could be tempted by the prospect of winning cups at United
Pulling on that hallowed red jersey is a career highlight for most players and if they did come calling, it may be too good an opportunity for Rice to turn down.
There may be a swap deal to be made to help smooth over negotiations. United want Rice, and could offer playmaker Jesse Lingard in part-exchange.
Lingard enjoyed a stellar loan spell at West Ham last season, and David Moyes is known to want to sign him up again. A compromise could leave both sides satisfied.
According to The Guardian, some of United’s players also with England have been talking to Rice about life at the club, meaning this is a saga to keep a close eye on.
Rice was released by Chelsea aged 14, and is believed to be open to a return to his boyhood club almost a decade on.
The added bonus of a switch to Stamford Bridge comes in the form of standout Blues star Mason Mount, who is one of Rice’s best friends.
And with Thomas Tuchel having shortlisted Rice as a target this summer, this deal would also make perfect sense.
Rice (third from right) is a former Chelsea youth product and a return may be on the cards soon
There is undoubtedly room for Rice at the club, with Billy Gilmour having been sent out on loan to Norwich and a desire for top-level reinforcements in that position.
What Chelsea may be able to offer over United is an immediate tilt for the biggest titles, after they won the Champions League last season.
With the highly-coveted jug-eared gong back on display in the corridors at the west London club, owner Roman Abramovich is willing to splash the cash again.
They look set to go for an all out push on the Premier League title now, and pundits have argued they are in a better position to challenge Manchester City than United in 2021-22.
Mason Mount (left) is a close friend of Rice and they may play for the same team at club level
Money is there to be spent, meaning that Rice’s eye-watering price tag may be slightly more within Chelsea’s means.
He would also be guaranteed a starting berth with Chelsea, similarly to United, but there would be a host of team-mates ready to step in should his form drop.
N’Golo Kante is already the bona fide holding midfielder at the club, but Rice has proven his flexibility, which would be an invaluable asset for the next campaign.
This is perhaps the dream move for Rice, as it is a chance to head back to his old stomping ground and show how he has developed since leaving all those years ago.
Rice signed his first professional contract at West Ham in 2015, and over the following years he has matured into their on-field captain in Mark Noble’s absence.
The sheer passion and love he holds for the club is evident, and has been shown in his exuberant celebrations after a goal or a win.
And the feeling is mutual with West Ham appreciating him greatly – so much so that they decided to offer him a lucrative new long-term deal.
Jesse Lingard (top) could be used in a swap deal for Rice, but West Ham have no desire to sell
Understandably, they are keen for him to remain at the heart of all their progress for years to come.
It’s a perfect situation for Rice. The supporters love him, he is performing at the peak of his powers, and Moyes has worked wonders since being re-hired.
But he may want to take the next step in his career, which will be difficult to begrudge, despite West Ham now being in the Europa League.
Provided they can continue on that upward trajectory, Rice will be presented with a whole new challenge. That may be enough to convince him to stay.
David Moyes has worked wonders with West Ham and Rice has been integral to his ambitions
Due to his contract situation, West Ham hold all the cards and will be in no rush to offload him.
It is not in the interest of the club or Rice for their relationship to sour.
After their rollercoaster journey together, that would be a real shame.
Thankfully there is no sign of that – and while Rice continues to impress in the eyes of the world with the Three Lions, his club can be proud of what they have produced.
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