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Manchester United could face a battle to land West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice next summer, with Manchester City willing to stump up the £100million required to bring him to the Etihad Stadium, according to reports. The 22-year-old is widely expected to move on next summer after turning down multiple contract offers from the Hammers and looks to have no shortage of admirers.
Rice has emerged as one of the Premier League’s finest defensive midfielders since breaking through at West Ham back in 2018.
He made 35 appearances in all competitions last season before going on to start every match for England during their Euro 2020 campaign.
The former Chelsea academy star has been heavily linked with United for some time, while a return to the Blues has also been touted as a potential option.
The Red Devils were reportedly keen to land a new deep-lying midfielder over the summer but were left empty-handed in the position after the late arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo on a bumper two-year contract.
However, it seems as though United may be forced into a bidding war if they decide to pursue Rice next time around.
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City are looking to enter the race and will be ready to shell out a nine-figure fee in order to secure his services, according to The Sun.
It is claimed the defending Premier League champions view Rice as a long-term replacement for Fernandinho in the middle of the park.
The veteran playmaker is in the final year of his contract and is not expected to sign fresh terms before the end of the campaign.
City are said to have been tracking Rice’s progress since the age of 18 and have placed him near the top of their list of targets.
West Ham’s asking price of £100m is not understood to be a deterrent as City are aware the east London club have time on their side.
Although Rice appears to be reluctant to extend his stay with the Hammers, he remains tied down until the summer of 2024, meaning they are under no immediate pressure to sell.
It remains to be seen whether City will be able to land Rice from under the noses of fellow long-term admirers United and Chelsea.
West Ham boss David Moyes suggested last month that he would not be bullied into parting ways with his prized asset for anything less than a premium fee, underlining his nine-figure valuation of the player.
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“We’ve got some players that we value at £100m and we won’t be selling them,” the Scot told talkSPORT.
“That’s the way it is. You’re not going to get rid of your better players, you don’t do it, and if you are then it’s going to be for huge money.
“So from that point of view, I think the clubs are right to do so. I think there are an awful lot of other clubs that are probably not able to pay that money and look to those levels.”
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