Liverpool and Manchester United have reportedly made contact with the representatives of West Ham United midfield mainstay Declan Rice.
Speaking on the Transfer Window Podcast, as relayed by the Daily Star, reputed journalist Ian McGarry has claimed that Liverpool and Manchester United have established contact with the agent of West Ham United and England midfielder Declan Rice.
Having started out at the Chelsea academy, the 22-year-old made the switch to the West Ham youth setup in 2014 and has risen through the ranks to become an indispensable member of the first-team. After having started out as a centre-back, Rice has moved to the defensive midfield role and has thrived, becoming first-choice club and country.
One of the best in his position in the Premier League, Rice has also been entrusted with the captain’s armband for West Ham this term when Mark Noble hasn’t been playing, highlighting the maturity that he brings to the table despite being just 22 years old.
All these qualities had led to serious interest in him from West Ham’s London rivals Chelsea. However, that seems to have passed following the sacking of Frank Lampard. But, the Blues rivals, Liverpool and Manchester United, have both taken a keenness in the England international as per McGarry.
“He is no longer on the transfer list of recruitment possibilities for the Stamford Bridge club, but he has certainly roused the interest of Liverpool and Manchester United. Both of whom have expressed interest to Rice’s agent as we understand and they have asked to be kept informed of any offers made for the England international,” the transfer expert said.
Liverpool have a well-stocked midfield unit as things stand. In Fabinho they have one of the top defensive midfielders in the league, although he has largely been used as a centre-back this term. In addition, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner could also do a job at the base of the midfield while Thiago Alcantara is also an option.
Even though Wijnaldum’s contract runs out at the end of the season, given the Reds are likely to recruit a new centre-back in the summer, would mean Fabinho returning to his natural habitat in midfield. So, their interest in Rice does come as a bit of a surprise.
Manchester United, on the other hand, could use the presence of someone like Rice in their ranks. The Red Devils have largely relied on Fred and Scott McTominay as their holding midfielders with veteran star Nemanja Matic providing cover.
However, the Serbian is not getting any younger and Manchester United must find a long-term replacement sooner rather than later, making Rice an ideal option for the 20-time English champions to consider.
The 22-year-old is contracted with West Ham United till the summer of 2024 with the club also retaining the option of extending it by another year. So, it will not be easy for any team to pry him away from the Hammers, more so considering that they are well within the picture for a top-four finish along with the likes of Liverpool.