Chelsea leading race for Declan Rice transfer ahead of Man Utd as his old club target swoop from West Ham
CHELSEA are reportedly leading the race for England midfielder Declan Rice.
The Blues have been chasing the West Ham ace for nearly three years but have yet to come close to securing his signature.
Rice’s future at the London Stadium, however, is currently up in the air as he has 18 months left on his contract.
And the midfielder has rejected THREE new contract offers from the Hammers.
Rice won’t be sold in the upcoming January transfer window, but West Ham could cash in on him in the summer.
And The Athletic claim Chelsea are in poll position to land the 23-year-old – who was once on their academy books – ahead of their Premier League rivals.
It’s claimed, however, that the Blues are concerned they could be pipped to his signature by Manchester United or Manchester City.
Former Chelsea chief Frank Lampard revealed last April that he tried his utmost to bring Rice to Stamford Bridge.
He said: “We are fortunate to have him in England. West Ham are fortunate to have him.
“He’s a leader and it is clear that he’s destined for great things.
“I have probably given it away with how I spoke about him, but I think it’s common knowledge that I was a big fan of his.
“It didn’t happen for various reasons, but we brought in a lot of players in the summer. But I was a big fan of him.”
Rice put the Premier League’s big boys on red alert after England’s World Cup last-16 win over Senegal by reaffirming his desire to play in the Champions League.
He said: “One hundred per cent, I want to play in the Champions League.
“For the last two or three years, I’ve been saying that.
“I’ve been playing consistently well for my club and I feel like I really want to keep pushing.
“I see my friends here who are playing Champions League and for big trophies.”
He added: “You only get one career and at the end you want to look back at what you’ve won and the biggest games you’ve played in.
“I really want to do that.”
Rice and his West Ham team-mates will be back in action on Boxing Day, travelling to the Emirates to take on Arsenal.
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