By George Overhill

19th Jan, 2022 | 3:10pm

Manchester City have 'strong interest' in West Ham star Declan Rice - report

Manchester City have retained a “strong interest” in signing West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, according to The Telegraph.

The Premier League leaders are reportedly prepared to move for the England star to replace 36-year-old Fernandinho in the summer, via The Mirror.

The report also claims that Manchester United are considering a move for Aston Villa’s John McGinn as a cheaper alternative to Rice (via Caught Offside).

In demand

Interest in the England star does not look like it will dissipate any time soon, and as with Liverpool’s reported tracking of Jarrod Bowen (Liverpool Echo), that will only increase with the form shown by David Moyes’ side this year.

Ever since Rice established himself in Gareth Southgate’s international set up there have been suggestions that he will move to a side at the top end of the table.

But while the Hammers are themselves operating in those positions, they are currently above Manchester United, then there is arguably less pressure for the 23-year-old to move on.

With the £100million price tag still floating around above Rice’s head it would mean Pep Guardiola’s side spending that amount on an England star two years running, following the big-money acquisition of Jack Grealish.

As that move has not so far turned out to be a roaring success they may decide against approaching the Irons with a concrete offer, especially as they are thought to be more concerned with bringing in a top level striker to replace Sergio Aguero.

A protracted saga saw City chase England captain Harry Kane during the summer before being left empty-handed.

The subsequent turmoil at Spurs may see that situation revisited and take attention away from the London Stadium.

If the Telegraph report is correct in suggesting Manchester United have been put off by the price as well, in favour of the cheaper Aston Villa man McGinn, then fans in East London may get their wish to keep hold of their main man.

Chelsea have been interested since Frank Lampard was in charge, but they have also spent a lot of money recently and already have N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho in the central midfield spots, so a departure for the Hammers star is not inevitable.

In other West Ham news, this first-team star continues to fit the bill for a move to this huge rival side.