Manchester United have been handed a major blow in pursuit of Declan Rice, who has his heart set on a move to Chelsea instead.

According to a report by Daily Mirror, Declan Rice has no interest in joining Manchester United. Instead, the West Ham United midfielder is intent to join Chelsea, who have been hot in his pursuit since the summer transfer window.

Rice has previously been at Chelsea, having been released by the west London club during his youth days before he finished his footballing education at West Ham United. Since then, he has come up leaps and bounds, becoming a mainstay in midfield for the Hammers and the English national side.

Till date at West Ham, the 21-year-old has racked up 127 appearances, holding the fort in the middle of the park whle also chipping in with 3 goals and 5 assists. Rice’s progress has not gone unnoticed, with Chelsea after him since the summer transfer window, while Manchester United have also shown an interest.

Keen on joining Chelsea. (Photo by Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)

Keen on joining Chelsea. (Photo by Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)

Chelsea have a well stocked midfield unit, with N’Golo Kante currently the first-choice holding midfielder. Apart from the Frenchman, Frank Lampard also has the likes of Mateo Kovacic, Mason Mount, Jorginho, Kai Havertz and Billy Gilmour at his disposal in his midfield unit, while on-loan stars Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley will also be back at Stamford Bridge in the summer.

However, Jorginho’s future at Chelsea has constantly been quite uncertain, meaning the pursuit of Rice does make some sense, seeing as Kante has also excelled while reprising the no. 8 role. Chelsea, though, are also facing stiff competition from rivals Manchester United in the race to sign the English international.

The interest from Manchester United is not unfounded either, considering Nemanja Matic is on the wrong side of 30 and approaching the twilight of his career. Laying down the succession plan for the Serb is imperative and this is where Rice, who has been touted for success at Old Trafford, comes into the picture for the Red Devils.

Manchester United, though, have been handed a bitter blow in the race to sign the 21-year-old, who prefers a switch to Chelsea when he leaves. West Ham United, as he wishes to remain in London and believes he has unfinished business at the west London club. The Hammers, meanwhile, value their prized possession at £80 million.

While West Ham would like to keep hold of a player who is primed to be the next club captain, he has his heart set on a move to Chelsea, who are reportedly willing to offload a few players to fund a move for him. As for Manchester United, they must now set their sights elsewhere in search of an alternative for Rice if they are to bolster their midfield in the summer.

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