Manchester United believe they will have a free run at Declan Rice next summer, according to reports.
The Red Devils are expected to bolster their midfield ahead of next season, having failed to make an addition in the engine room in the recent transfer window.
United did sign Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, but many felt they neglected to strengthen the area of the squad that was most in need of it.
Rice is thought to be the club's top transfer target, but until recently they looked set to face competition for his signature from Chelsea.
But according to the Daily Mirror, Old Trafford is a more likely destination for Rice than Stamford Bridge.
That is because the Blues have begun to consider other options, including Aurelien Tchouameni of Monaco.
Chelsea also struck an initial loan deal for Saul Niguez on transfer deadline day last week.
There is an option for the European champions to make the deal permanent, something they will surely do if the Spanish midfielder impresses.
All of which is good news for United's hopes of landing Rice, although West Ham will not let him go without a fight.
The England international is under contract at the London Stadium until 2024.
The Hammers are trying to tie Rice down to a new deal that would see him commit his future to the club beyond that date.
However, it has been reported that the 22-year-old is likely to reject the offer of a contract extension.
West Ham currently value Rice at £100m, and it is unclear whether United would be willing to pay that much for him.
If the player wants to move to Old Trafford, he must therefore hope that his current employers lower their asking price.
Chelsea could yet reignite their interest in Rice, although Thomas Tuchel might not be as keen on him as his predecessor Frank Lampard was.
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