Manchester United are the latest club to register an interest in Declan Rice, who is stalling on a new deal at fellow Premier League club West Ham United.

If Rice didn’t have big clubs chasing his signature already, the Daily Star are speculating the entry of Manchester United into the scheme of things. The Red Devils are looking to strengthen their options at the back and have shortlisted the West Ham United contract rebel, who is currently being tailed by Chelsea and a few other clubs.

Rice has always been earmarked as a top prospect, not just at club level but for England as well. Drawing comparisons with John Terry early on, the youngster has found home under Manuel Pellegrini as a holding midfielder or an anchor-man to say.

The 2018-19 season has seen West Ham United struggle to an extent. But, as the Hammers find their feet under Pellegrini, Rice is already a hit with his role in front of the defence, with 12 appearances to boot so far this campaign. His contract situation though, is a bit worrying for West Ham, with his deal set to run out in the summer of 2019.

Hitting all the right chords. (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

Hitting all the right chords. (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

While West Ham are ready to give a raise and a new contract to Rice, his unwillingness to commit to a new deal, combined with his ability has started attracting the top brass of the league. Chelsea were rumoured to be looking at Declan Rice already, with Manchester United reportedly entering the race.

Jose Mourinho seems to be lacking confidence in his central defensive options. Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling are his regular choices for the two positions so far. But, the Portuguese is still on the lookout to add quality to the defence. The Manchester United board though, do not want short-term fixes and are ready to back the manager on targets whose profiles fit the long-term agenda.

He would be the perfect candidate, it seems. Not only is the youngster aa homegrow English player, but also he has already shown a penchant for top level football. Add to that the fact that he could be available for cheap, considering his contractual situation at West Ham, and Manchester United does seem justified in targeting the versatile defender.

Mourinho would want to bring the player in January itself. But, we could see the saga drag to the summer, when Declan Rice’s deal is due to expire. Expect Manchester United, Chelsea and a few other top clubs in that time to emerge as contenders for the youngster’s signature.