Man Utd prepared to rival Chelsea in £70m summer transfer battle for West Ham star Declan Rice

MANCHESTER UNITED are preparing to rival Chelsea in a £70million transfer battle for Declan Rice, according to reports.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is thought to want a defensive midfielder and centre-back in the summer.

Rice, 22, has played in both positions over his career but is now settled as a holding midfielder.

And ESPN report the Red Devils will line up a bid.

Ed Woodward is ready to back Solskjaer in the transfer window as the club begin to challenge at the top of the Premier League again.

But a lot of United's spending plans also ride on Paul Pogba's situation as well as the coronavirus pandemic.

Pogba has 18 months left on his current Old Trafford contract and has repeatedly hinted at his desire to leave – but whether the likes of Real Madrid or Juventus could afford him is unclear.

Rice would be a natural successor to Nemanja Matic in the United midfield and an upgrade on Fred.

However, Chelsea remain favourites to land Rice in the summer.

The England international was released by the Blues aged 14 but is reportedly open to a return.


There, he would link up with best pal Mason Mount as well as fellow English youngsters Ben Chilwell, Reece James, Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Reports suggested Rice would prefer to stay in the capital than move to Manchester while his dad and agent Sean is a Blues supporter.

Although West Ham hope the £70m price tag slapped on their academy graduate would be enough to deter potential bidders – especially with his contract running until 2024.

He has played 19 times for the Hammers so far this season, wearing the captain's armband for most of those.

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