Chelsea are closing in on a deal for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice.
The West Londoners have been long-term admirers of the Hammers ace, who was released from the Blues’ academy at the age of 14.
Now 23, England international Rice is tied to the Irons until 2024, but has rejected three new contract offers tabled by the club.
The Athletic report Chelsea have never been closer to bringing Rice back to Stamford Bridge, but will need to fend off approaches from Manchester United and Manchester City.
Rice played a key role in the Three Lions’ run to the World Cup quarter-finals and expressed his wish to continue to showcase his talents on the elite stage while on international duty.
Earlier this month he said: “100% I want to play in the Champions League.
“For the last two or three years I’ve been saying that. I’ve been playing consistently well for my club and I feel like I really want to keep pushing.
“I see my friends 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.”
West Ham are resigned to losing their club captain next summer, but will place a reported £100million price tag to ensure they receive substantial compensation from any potential suitor.
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