Chelsea keen on signing 22-year-old England international

West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice has reportedly told friends he would rather join Chelsea over PL rivals Red Devils. England international has played 128 matches for the Hammers since making his first-team debut in 2017, establishing himself as one of the club’s most important figures in recent campaign.

Declan’s form saw him called up to the Three Lions squad in 2019 and he has gone on to earn 13 caps for his country. Chelsea and Man United have both expressed interest in signing Rice, who the Hammers fear will leave the club in the summer.

The 21-year-old midfielder started at Blues academy before being released at the age of 16, and Chelsea appears to be the footballer’s favoured destination if he leaves east London. Red Devils have recently joined Blues in the battle to sign the English midfielder but he has told friends he would prefer to remain in London.

Declan may feel he has unfinished business at the London club and will be tempted to join his best pal and England team-mate Mason Mount at Chelsea. West Ham United value Declan at nearly £80m and may be forced to sell if the player, who has UCL aspirations, pushes for a move.

Speaking earlier in the month, Hammers captain Mark Noble appeared to give Blues hope of signing team-mate Rice. Discussing Rice’s potential, Noble said: ‘He’s still learning his trade, he’ll get much better with experience. ‘I’m hoping it’s here at West Ham but in this game, you never know.’