• Manchester United is interested in West Ham's Declan Rice, a report said
  • Chelsea remains the favorite to sign Rice
  • The attacking midfielder has been put on the same level as some of the best young players in the sport

Manchester United has joined the race to sign one of the most sought-after rising stars in Europe’s top five leagues, a report says.

West Ham United’s Declan Rice has emerged as a top young prospect in the current transfer window. Chelsea has been touted as the frontrunner to land the attacking midfielder, but Manchester United is now considering a transfer swoop as well, ESPN reported, citing unnamed sources.

Rice, who has functioned best as a defensive midfielder, is said to be included in United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s transfer wishlist, with the Norwegian also “prioritizing” signing a forward and a central defender, the report added.

The Red Devils are reportedly not rushing in their pursuit of Rice, with the club looking to make advancements in the summer. The 22-year-old is said to be already “aware” of United’s interest, but the report said that the Blues are still “in pole position” to land Rice in case the Hammers finally give the green light on his departure.

Rice’s current deal with West Ham is effective until 2024. An early transfer will not come cheap as the Hammers have reportedly put a £70 million ($95 million) price tag on the youngster, a figure the club is sticking with to fend off interest from suitors.

Prior to being linked to United, Rice has already been lauded by some Premier League legends, including former Aston Villa striker Alan McInally.

The 57-year-old, who has played in both the Premier League and Bundesliga, had previously put Rice on the same footing as United’s past top prospect, Jadon Sancho.

France forward Kylian Mbappe scored a cracker on Wednesday
France forward Kylian Mbappe AFP / FRANCK FIFE

Now, McInally is certain that the Englishman is already on the same “level” as two of the best young players in the sport, Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.

“I throw the names that in terms of who are the biggest young stars at the moment," McInally recently told Footy Accumulators. “[Kylian] Mbappe, [Erling] Haaland and I throw Declan Rice in there because I think he is in that level, he genuinely is in that level.”

“People will think ‘Well, that’s a bit much Al, you are going a bit over the top there, he is only at West Ham and he is only playing in the West Ham team.’ I’m saying if he was to play in a better team, I think he gets better, I genuinely do,” he added. “I don’t think we have seen the best of Declan Rice yet.“

Declan Rice of West Ham United
Declan Rice of West Ham United Getty Images | Chloe Knott - Danehouse