Man Utd and Man City ready to hurt Chelsea’s transfer plans as duo eye Declan Rice bids
Transfer news: Who could be on the move this summer?
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Manchester United and Manchester City are reportedly weighing up moves for West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice, according to reports. The 22-year-old has previously been linked with Chelsea, the club he was released from back in 2014 as a budding prospect, who are said to retain an interest in bringing him back to Stamford Bridge.
The Blues look to be gearing up for another busy summer transfer window after spending an eye-watering total of £222million last time around, more than any other Premier League club.
A bid for Inter Milan defender Achraf Hakimi was reportedly tabled earlier this week, with Thomas Tuchel said to be eyeing the addition of a world-class right-back in order to shore up Chelsea’s defensive ranks.
A number of other targets are believed to be on the club’s radar, including Borussia Dortmund talisman Erling Haaland and Adama Traore of Wolves, and as a result it remains to be seen whether Roman Abramovich will be prepared to fund a big-money move for Rice over the coming months.
If the west Londoners eventually decide to act on their reported interest in the West Ham skipper, they are likely to face stiff competition from both Manchester clubs, according to The Athletic.
The report claims that all three sides are in contention for Rice, but United and City are said to be actively considering approaches.
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However, like Chelsea, they both have other irons in the fire and will not be able to fund moves for all of their primary targets.
The Red Devils are believed to be in talks with Borussia Dortmund with a view to finally completing the signing of long-term target Jadon Sancho.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is also said to be keen on bringing in a new centre-back to partner Harry Maguire at the heart of United’s defence.
The Old Trafford club have been consistently linked with Rice for over a year, with the England man able to bolster the club’s existing options in the holding midfield area.
Meanwhile, City are in need of a striker to replace Sergio Aguero, who recently joined Barcelona on a free transfer after the conclusion of his previous deal with the newly-crowned Premier League champions.
Despite the shared interest in Rice from both clubs, it seems as though a move could be tricky to engineer, with West Ham unlikely to be keen on selling their prized asset ahead of their first appearance in the Europa League since 2016.
Chelsea were understood to be seriously interested during Frank Lampard’s tenure, with the 42-year-old urging club director Marina Granovskaia to push for a move last year.
His admiration for Rice appears to be shared by Tuchel, who has reportedly been speaking to staff about the possibility of securing his services.
The midfielder is currently gearing up to represent England at Euro 2020, with their opening Group D fixture against Croatia just days away.
Former Tottenham, United and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho recently suggested that Rice could be a valuable asset for Gareth Southgate’s side this summer, highlighting his ability to add some much-needed balance to the midfield.
“First of all, I like the boy,” the experienced Portuguese boss, now in charge of Roma, told The Times.
“I like what he shows me. He is mature, calm, a team player who doesn’t think about himself. He always has the correct answers and gives incredible stability to the team.
“It is one thing to play in the qualification phase, where you play against teams where you don’t need balance to beat any team 5-0. But when you get to the final phases, you play against good teams with good attacking players and then you need balance.
“A team without balance is not a team. Rice is this kind of player. If you have a good back four or back three with a player like Rice in front, England can have more attacking freedom.”
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