Why is Man Utd and Chelsea target Rice still at West Ham?

Robin Bairner
Moyes hints Declan Rice won’t be joining Man Utd or Chelsea

Declan Rice promised to be one of the transfer stories of the summer when the West Ham and England midfielder was linked to both Manchester United and Chelsea.

However, transfer rumours have quietened over the 22-year-old England international in recent weeks, with no sign of a deal before the transfer window shuts on August 31.

Given the prominent role that he played in England’s run to the Euro 2020 final, in which they suffered defeat on penalties against Italy, this comes as something of surprise.

There are two chief interrelated reasons why Rice appears to be going nowhere.

West Ham’s Rice asking price

The first reason that Declan Rice is unlikely to sign for either Man Utd or Chelsea this summer is that he will not go cheaply.

Indeed, West Ham have stuck stubbornly by the €115 million (£100m) asking price that they had named for their player even before last season was up. If anything, his performances at Euro 2020 will have driven this figure higher.

Man Utd, particularly, have been smart in the transfer market this summer and are not about to pay over the odds for a player. According to FootballTransfers’ algorithm, Rice is worth €51.7m – a massive chunk less than the Hammers’ valuation.

According to the Telegraph, this has frustrated Rice, who is refusing to extend his present deal, which expires in 2024.

Other options

The other reason is that simply his main suitors have little reason to pursue a central midfielder at present.

Chelsea retain Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante, while Man Utd are also well stocked in the centre of the park, especially with Paul Pogba having started the season in such bright form.

These clubs are not about to be drawn into an expensive signing simply for the sake of it, particularly when there are numerous other promising alternatives on the market, including Rennes’ Eduardo Camavinga and Ilaix Moriba of Barcelona.

The market conditions for West Ham to sell Rice are not ideal at present, and unless there is a dramatic shift in the next 10 days, he will be staying at the London Stadium.