Manchester United are gearing themselves up for a busy summer with the squad in dire need of a rebuild.
the MEN reported in January that United were drawing up a shortlist of targets for the summer transfer window, with Declan Rice near the top of their list.
The England international has been absolutely sensational for West Ham this season, developing his game to the point where he’s now one of the most sought-after midfielders in Europe.
There’s no doubt there will be other clubs looking to lure him away from the London Stadium, with his former club Chelsea one of those said to be keen on engineering a move.
Rice was released from the Blues’ academy as a teenager but it’s clear he still holds the European champions close to his heart.
The 23-year-old recently spoke about his release from the club on The Overlap with Gary Neville and there’s a sense that Rice feels as though he has unfinished business at Stamford Bridge.
“Obviously, I was released at 14 by Chelsea, something that I didn’t expect at all,” he said of his Chelsea departure.
“It was all I ever knew as a kid, you know, it’s my whole life, going there, training with the mates I’d met. And honestly, I felt like that was it – I was gutted, my dad coming home telling me after school.”
Not only do Chelsea hold the trump card of Rice being fond of the Blues when it comes to battling it out for his signature, they’re also better placed to offer him what he wants.
They’re the current champions of Europe, they could yet add both domestic cups to their trophy cabinet this season and they’re clearly further ahead than United are in their pair’s respective bids to launch a Premier League title charge.
Playing for United will always be a huge draw but Rice has made it very clear what he hopes to achieve in his career.
“I have always said it, I don’t want to have a career where I’ve not won anything,” he added.
“Growing up as a kid, I’ve seen all these top players win the trophies, win the Premier League, the Champions League.
“Me as a football fan and a player, I want to win the best stuff, I want to win the Premier League, I want to lift that trophy, I want to win the Champions League, I want to win the FA Cup, League Cups. Even with England, I want to win it all.”
Rice clearly has lofty ambitions and it begs the question: are United in a position to be able to offer him what he wants?
While United could still qualify for the Champions League this season, they don’t look to be in a position to challenge for silverware. Early exits from the Carabao Cup and FA Cup have ensured United are on course to finish without a trophy yet again this season bar a Champions League miracle.
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Is that really appealing to someone like Rice? It could be at least three years until United are in a position to launch a genuine title challenge, yet Chelsea are expected to do so next season.
It could be time for United to move on from Rice. He’d be an unbelievable signing, but this is the clearest indication yet that United could be wasting their time by chasing him this summer.
Should United move on from Rice? Follow our United On My Mind writer omar garrick on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below.