West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is reportedly set to be at the centre of a ‘four way battle’ this summer, following some impressive displays for the Hammers this season.
The 22-year-old has been a firm fixture of the West Ham first-team since making his senior debut in 2017 and has gone on to not only establish himself as an England international but also as captain at the London Stadium in the absence of regular skipper, Mark Noble.
The current campaign, in particular, has seen Rice flourish in a defensive midfield role as part of David Moyes’ resurgent side, with the Hammers currently in seventh and just eight points behind leaders Manchester United.
Despite the prospect of potentially playing European football next season for the west London club, it would appear that Rice’s future perhaps lies elsewhere, with persistent rumours linking him with the exit door.
The most likely scenario appears to be a return to Stamford Bridge for the former Chelsea youth-team player, although, according to 90min, the Blues are just one of four Premier League clubs who are keen on making a move for Rice this summer.
League leaders United are one of those clubs and have been strongly linked with the player over the last few seasons, while Liverpool and Manchester City are the other two sides reportedly interested.
As per the report, despite previous suggestions that any interested party would have to fork out over £80m to secure his signature, the financial impact of the ongoing pandemic has forced West Ham to reduce their asking price closer to the £50m mark.
The England international now has the tough decision over whether to stay part of Moyes’ improving team, or accept the proposition of one of the four interested clubs.
One factor that could impact any move is the position in which his potential new club wishes to play him in, with the youngster able to slot in at both centre-back and central midfield.
The suggestions are that both City and the Blues view the player as a long-term solution at centre-back, with Lampard’s side, in particular, in need of reinforcement in that area.
As for Liverpool and Manchester United, the two sides appear to favour Rice as a midfield addition – reportedly the player’s preferred position. United are preparing themselves for the expected exit of Paul Pogba this summer and thus would need a suitable ‘replacement’, while the Reds are also anticipating the departure of contract rebel Gini Wijnaldum.