Rio Ferdinand believes Declan Rice would favour a move to Chelsea rather than Manchester United should he leave West Ham in the summer.

Rice, who was released from the Blues’ academy as a teenager, continues to improve under David Moyes’ tutelage and is also a regular international in Gareth Southgate’s England side.

Rice is believed to be a target for both Manchester United and Chelsea

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Rice is believed to be a target for both Manchester United and Chelsea

His continued good form has seen him linked with a return to Stamford Bridge, with Frank Lampard reportedly making the 21-year-old his top target for the summer window.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, however, is said to be ready to rival Chelsea for Rice’s signature, with the Hammers asking for around £80million to part ways with their star midfielder.

But United legend Ferdinand thinks Chelsea are much more likely to win the race for Rice than the Red Devils.

“I don’t think he goes this window,” said Ferdinand on his FIVE YouTube channel. “I think he stays there for the remainder of the season.

“I don’t think he’s the kind of kid who is going to push to leave right now.

“If it happens, it will be between the clubs. I don’t think he’s going to be the person that instigates it. I think he’s quite a laid-back kid in that sense, but he is a driven kid; he’s someone who wants to achieve, better himself and improve.

Lampard has made Rice his top target for the summer transfer window

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Lampard has made Rice his top target for the summer transfer window

“He’s like a sponge, he asks questions when you speak to him: ‘What was it like in your time?’

“He reminds me of myself in that respect. He asks questions like, ‘What was he like, training with him?’, and he wants to know everything because he wants to better himself and you can’t fault a kid like that.

“Good luck to him. I think it’s inevitable he will go but I think – if I’m being realistic – he will go in the summer and I think it would be to Chelsea if he had his wish.”

Although Lampard was unsuccessful in his attempts to sign Rice last summer, The Athletic claim the Three Lions international will be plying his trade in SW6 before too long.

Transfer expert David Ornstein wrote: “Rice to Chelsea is starting to feel a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’.

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“I reported in the last transfer window that West Ham decided he was not for sale under any circumstances and, at the same time, some at Chelsea were not totally convinced the 21-year-old had rectified certain perceived weaknesses that contributed to them letting him leave Stamford Bridge as a teenager.

“But Frank Lampard seems firmly committed and evidence suggests the Chelsea manager tends to get what he wants in the transfer market.”


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