Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are ready to battle it out to sign West Ham United and England star Declan Rice in the summer transfer window.

According to Daily Telegraph, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United are all vying to capture the signing of West Ham United and England midfield mainstay Declan Rice later this year.

Having started at the Chelsea youth academy, he signed for West Ham after being released by the Blues in 2013. After breaking into the first-team setup back in 2017, Rice has become one of the best defensive midfielders in the country. The 23-year-old has made over 170 appearances for the Hammers and is the second club captain behind Mark Noble.

Rice is also an ever-present in the middle of the park for the England national team and was a key member of the team that made it to the finals of the UEFA Euro 2020 last year. Naturally, top clubs in the country have been sniffing around for an opportunity to sign him up, with Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United all set to make efforts to secure his transfer in the summer.

Chelsea have been hot on the trails of Rice since 2020, when Frank Lampard was in charge of the team. The interest seemingly cooled down somewhat once Thomas Tuchel became the manager, but the west London giants are back in the hunt for the midfielder. With N’Golo Kante and Jorginho in their thirties and the former struggling with injuries, a move for the 23-year-old has become a priority.

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As for Manchester City, they already have a top defensive midfielder in their ranks in Rodri. However, Pep Guardiola’s side will need to replace long-serving star and club captain Fernandinho, who is in the final leg of his career, while his contract also expires at the end of the ongoing campaign. Someone like Rice could thus be an ideal long-term successor for the Brazilian at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester United, meanwhile, have struggled with the lack of a proper holding midfielder in the ranks for a while now. Nemanja Matic has been reduced to a bit-part role while neither Scott McTominay nor Fred have done enough to convince as a proper No. 6. They have identified Rice as a priority target and are prepared to shell out the big bucks for his signing in the summer.

West Ham United, for their part, are reluctant to let go of their star midfielder and have slapped a valuation of over £100 million. However, Rice has previously rejected two new contract proposals from the Hammers as he wishes to challenge for trophies and compete in the UEFA Champions League. 

While David Moyes’s side are in contention for a top-four finish, their failure to strengthen their roster in January could come back to haunt them in the race. Should they miss out, there is a possibility that Rice might decide to leave the club with Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United waiting in the wings to pounce.

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