Jesse Lingard could accidentally help Chelsea to beat Man Utd to Declan Rice transfer

Jesse Lingard could inadvertently help Manchester United’s rivals Chelsea to sign Declan Rice this summer. Rice is also a target for United but does not appear to be a feasible addition in the current window given their other business.

West Ham value Rice, who starred at Euro 2020 for England as they reached the final, at around £100million given he has developed into their best player.

The 22-year-old has played in 104 of the Hammers’ past 114 Premier League matches and captained the team on 23 occasions in the top flight last term as David Moyes’ men finished sixth to qualify for the Europa League.

Yet Rice is out of contract in 2023 and is said to have turned down two offers of a new deal from West Ham, putting pressure on them to think about selling this summer or next summer if they cannot change the player’s mind.

The midfielder reportedly wants to be made aware of any bids made for him this summer and Eurosport say that Chelsea are expected to table an opening offer to test West Ham’s resolve in the near future.

Chelsea would prefer to pay between £60m and £70m despite their London rivals’ £100m valuation of the Englishman, which would make him the Blues’ record signing by a considerable distance.

It’s added that Rice would jump at the chance to move to Stamford Bridge because there are concerns about the ambition and direction of the club at West Ham.

Moyes has yet to make any signings in the current market with the club having been frustrated in their hopes to permanently sign Jesse Lingard, who was superb on loan at the London Stadium from Manchester United.

The 28-year-old scored nine goals and laid on five assists in just 16 league appearances and was crucial to West Ham qualifying for European football.

It had been hoped his move would be turned permanent but Lingard currently remains in pre-season training with United with less than three weeks until the 2021-22 Premier League season gets underway.

Eurosport say that the attacker is not close to joining West Ham which has left Rice frustrated given he loved playing alongside Lingard and presumed he would be brought back.

Lingard remaining at Old Trafford, as appears increasingly possible with the Red Devils said to value the player at £30m, could therefore inadvertently aid Chelsea’s chances of landing Rice.

United are effectively out of the running to sign the West Ham vice-skipper themselves having spent £78m on Jadon Sancho and with it expected another £50m or so will be paid to Real Madrid for Raphael Varane.

Rice, at an absolute minimum of £70m but likely at a fee far closer £100m, would prove too expensive for United. Besides they have shortlisted Eduardo Camavinga as a cheaper alternative and Kieran Trippier is also another pricey target at right-back given he could cost £34m.

But Chelsea could well pay the amount it takes to land Rice given that signing a striker is proving difficult with their main targets, Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland and Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku – who would both cost over £100m, unobtainable.

Lingard not returning to West Ham would only strengthen Rice’s desire to move on, and having ask to be kept informed of bids, he would presumably be eager to join Chelsea if a formal bid is made.

Rice admitted last year that he models his game on Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante and has conceded he would love to play alongside the Frenchman.

Alongside Mount on England duty, Rice admitted he would “pay great money” to play in a five-a-side team with Kante, Mount, Kai Havertz and Michail Antonio.

And if Lingard remains at United, Rice’s desire to play next to Kante, Mount and Havertz may only increase, aiding Chelsea’s chances of getting a deal done if they finally firm up their long-standing interest.

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