Tony Cottee believes Manchester United target Declan Rice will go to Chelsea, should he leave West Ham, as he believes the midfielder’s future hangs on the Hammers’ European hopes.
United have a long-standing interest in Rice, who has been ever-present for David Moyes’ side this season. He has continued his role and has become a focal point in their astronomic rise.
Already, United have earmarked Rice as their principal midfield target in the summer transfer window.
Following his displays so far this season, it is no surprise to see his name linked with multiple clubs around the Premier League.
However, the former Hammers striker believes Thomas Tuchel’s side could have the upper hand and win the race for the England international.
“If Declan was to decide to leave, I think he’ll go to Chelsea,” Cottee told Betting Expert.
“The reason for that is he was at Chelsea as a kid. He is best friends with Mason Mount, and he’s grew up with all the young kids at the club.
“You know, Tammy Abraham, he’s in Italy now, but he grew up with him and Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Reece James. All those young boys that are playing so well for Chelsea, Declan is friends with them.”
West Ham currently occupy the final Champions League place and are already through to the knockout stages of the Europa League.
Much of the discussion surrounding the midfielder’s future revolves around whether Moyes can guide the Hammers into the Champions League after helping them to Europa League qualification last year.
Cottee fears that should they fail to go one better in their European bid, it could spell the end of Rice’s London Stadium career.
He added: “It doesn’t have to be the Europa League. It could be the FA Cup, it could be the Carabao Cup. But winning a cup and Declan enjoying the feeling of winning with West Ham.
“The club hasn’t won a cup for 41 years now. It’ll be 42 years next year. 1980. So a long, long time.
“‘And the other way, of course, is to get into the Champions League.”
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