Manchester United are relying on Declan Rice being willing to wait until the summer for a move, as Chelsea continue to hunt their former academy star.
The Premier League heavyweights are going head-to-head for the West Ham midfielder, who is valued at £80million.
The 21-year-old England man was strongly tipped to head back to Stamford Bridge last summer.
However, an outlay of £220million on mainly attacking talent meant a move for Rice never came about.
But that has not stopped Chelsea in their hunt for the player, with Frank Lampard a huge fan. The Blues boss wants Rice on board, with a view to playing him as a centre-back rather than in midfield.
The player himself is also reported to have made his mind up that he wants a return to west London.
However, United refuse to give up in their chase for the combative star.
Old Gunnar Solskjaer wants to sign a new holding midfielder and centre-back, and Rice is able to fill both positions.
But the report in the Manchester Evening News states that the Red Devils are likely to do their major business in the summer and not January.
Major United moves in summer
That means United are relying on Chelsea not making their move in the new year and also Rice being prepared to wait.
The former Blues trainee has been tipped to replace Paul Pogba at Old Trafford, with the Frenchman almost certain to move on.
Solskjaer is a big fan of Rice’s versatility and leadership, after the player took over as Hammers skipper.
Despite his tender age, Rice made his 100th top flight start against Crystal Palace during the week.
The big issue for both United and Chelsea will be if the player’s value continues to rise.
West Ham have previously stated that he is not for sale, with an £80m valuation on his head. But Rice’s price will continue to go up while he stars for club and country.
That would then leave both clubs with a major decision, as they also look to strengthen other areas of their respective teams.
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