Manchester United saw a £100m bid for top Arsenal and Chelsea target and West Ham captain Declan Rice turned down last summer, according to reports.
The England international has now established himself as one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League and given he is still only 24, has the potential to get even better.
However, the Hammers will clearly not let their star man go easily, with multiple outlets suggesting that a bid of £120m would be required for his services.
This is according to the Sun, who revealed on Monday that United had submitted a £100m bid last summer, only for West Ham manager David Moyes to block their approach.
As mentioned, Arsenal, along with Chelsea have previously been heavily linked with moves for Rice, but if these reports are to be believed, it was actually United who came closest to signing him last summer.
At the time, Erik ten Hag was keen to bolster his midfield, after being left unconvinced by the performances of Fred and Scott McTominay.
The Dutch coach eventually brought in serial-trophy winner Casemiro from Real Madrid, as he arrived at Old Trafford for £70m. This has since proved to be a smart addition, as he has been one of the Red Devil’s star performers this season.
However, with the Brazilian midfielder already 30, United could go back in for Rice this summer as a more long-term option.
As mentioned, Rice is a monumentally important player for West Ham, who are currently in the midst of a relegation battle.
Since he became a first-team regular in the 2017/18 season, the midfielder has amassed 222 appearances for the Hammers, scoring 11 goals and making 13 assists in the process.
He has arguably been the East London club’s best player for the last two campaigns, which saw them finish in an impressive seventh and sixth place, as well as reaching the Europa League semi-finals in May 2022.
Rice’s performances have earned him a regular spot in Gareth Southgate’s England squad, too, playing in all of the Three Lions’ five World Cup matches as they reached the quarter-finals in Qatar last year.
Interestingly, while at the World Cup, Rice voiced his desire to leave West Ham and join a club that consistently challenges for trophies.
Speaking in a press conference, he said: “I see my friends here [with England] who are playing Champions League and for big trophies.
“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.”
With that in mind, Manchester United, Arsenal or Chelsea would likely suit Rice as a next destination.
Indeed, it looks likely that he will leave the Hammers at the end of the season as with his contract set to run out in June 2024, this could be their last chance to recoup a sizeable transfer fee.
The only question is, will any of them be willing to pay West Ham’s hefty £120m price tag and set a new British transfer record?
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