West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice reportedly prefers joining Chelsea amid interest from Manchester United.

A recent report from the Daily Mail has offered an update on the future of Declan Rice. The West Ham United midfielder is being courted by Premier League giants Manchester United, but it appears they are set to face stiff competition from rivals Chelsea.

The report adds the player himself prefers a move to Chelsea, having previously played for the club’s academy during the initial stage of his youth career. Rice could see himself returning to the west London club, although sanctioning a move for the Englishman could force the Blues to offload their star midfielder N’Golo Kante.

A native of London, Rice was released by the Chelsea academy at the age of 14. After that, he flourished in the West Ham academy before making a name for himself in the Premier League. At the age of just 23, the midfielder already has over 150 Premier League appearances to his name.

Rice is widely regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League, often receiving a lot of praise for his defensive work rate and efficient passing of the ball. It has made him an ideal target for Manchester United, as they prepare for life without Paul Pogba.

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

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

The Frenchman’s contract at Old Trafford expires at the end of the season, with the player reportedly in talks with Paris Saint-Germain. Manchester United are prepared to let him go by adding a star player like Rice to their squad. However, with Chelsea also interested in securing his services, we could be in for an interesting saga.

As iterated earlier, Chelsea may have to offload Kante if they are to incorporate Rice into the first-team setup. And while the idea may have been unthinkable two or three years ago, it would not be surprising to see Thomas Tuchel being tempted, as the Frenchman is not getting any younger. The same can be said for Jorginho, which is perhaps why the Blues have been linked with moves for younger options such as Frenkie de Jong.

West Ham, for their part, have slapped a staggering £100 million price tag on Rice that could go a long way in helping David Moyes reshape his squad in the summer. The Hammers have recently showcased their ambition by making a club-record bid for Leeds United starlet Kalvin Phillips, but their £55 million offer was reportedly rejected by the Whites. It will be interesting to see if they can return with an improved offer in the summer, particularly if they sanction Rice’s sale.

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