By George Overhill

2nd May, 2022 | 5:10pm

Declan Rice may stay at West Ham United with Manchester United now only exit option

Manchester United are the only potential transfer destination for West Ham star Declan Rice, with other suitors otherwise engaged according to ESPN.

A bidding war appeared to be on the cards for the Hammers midfielder but the other Premier League sides who would have a chance of signing the 23-year-old are apparently not likely to be in position to make a run at him this summer.

Sources have indicated to ESPN that Manchester City will be focused on a big-money deal for Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, and a new left-back, while Chelsea will be more concerned with replacing defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen if they are even in the market due to their ownership situation.

Liverpool apparently are looking at midfield reinforcements but have their eye on Jude Bellingham in a year’s time.

That leaves Manchester United with what they see as a “clear run” at Rice, who David Moyes has insisted would cost as much as £150million.

ESPN’s senior writer Mark Ogden says: “Sources have told ESPN that United want Rice to become a modern-day version of [Paul] Ince by adding tenacity, determination and leadership to a midfield desperately lacking in depth and quality.”

It is suggested however that Rice may regard the Old Trafford side as dysfunctional and think “his career will be better served by waiting for something more appealing to come along”.

Money talks

Based on the recent history of Man United, if they are the only option for Rice this is surely going to come down to a matter of money.

If Erik ten Hag’s side are not even in the Champions League next season then they immediately lose a large measure of what would otherwise make them an attractive option.

The ESPN report notes that the Irons star is earning £62,000 per week at the London Stadium and could as much as “quadruple” that in Manchester.

If they are willing to stump up the eye-watering fee that the club is going to demand for him, and then offer that on top it would give anyone a decision to make, no matter how attached to east London they have become.

Based on the circumstances set out in this report though it seems more logical than ever for the England international to remain at West Ham for at least another year.

The Red Devils may regard a clear field as a “one off” opportunity to sign him, but it also makes it easier from a club point of view to keep hold of him.

Unless he has his heart set on an exit and a pay rise, or sees something in the future at Old Trafford that the Hammers can’t offer him then he should be wearing the armband still next year.

In other West Ham news, the club have so far banked £38million from some memorable nights this year.

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