Man Utd ‘have three England stars on transfer shortlist’ as they enter Rice race

West Ham captain Declan Rice has reportedly joined England team-mates Harry Kane and Mason Mount on Erik ten Hag’s summer transfer wish-list at Manchester United – with Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic also said to be of interest. The Red Devils have endured an alarming dip in form in recent weeks and their concerning results and gruelling pursuit of a top-four finish has once again highlighted the importance of a productive transfer window at the end of the season.

Ten Hag splashed more than £210million on a host of new recruits upon arrival at Old Trafford but his side are now paying the price for a quiet winter in which they failed to strengthen their ranks having been hit by a number of cruel injuries.

Nonetheless, if United achieve Champions League qualification they will be significant players in the market and the club are already drawing up an ambitious shortlist as they seek to make several high-profile acquisitions.

According to The Guardian, United are now in contention to sign Rice as the England defensive midfielder prepares to wave goodbye to West Ham as he approaches the final 12 months of his contract.

Arsenal are believed to be leading the charge for the 24-year-old, who is valued at £120m by the Hammers as they seek to maximise their profits.

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David Moyes has finally conceded ahead of the trip to Brentford that he is “fully aware” Rice could be set to leave the club at the end of the season.

“We honestly hope Dec stays, that is the biggest thing,” Moyes said on Friday. “We would love him to be a West Ham player but we are aware that might not be the case. That is one of the scenarios.

“Our plans are to have Dec here but we are also fully aware there is a good chance that we don’t have him.”

Rice would ideally like to play Champions League football but a host of other big Premier League clubs including Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle have also been linked with his signature.

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The report suggests United are also going after Kane and Mount, who like Rice are also approaching the final 12 months of their current deals at Tottenham and Chelsea respectively.

Kane has long been admired by United but this could finally be their chance to land the Three Lions skipper if he is prepared to push for a transfer like he did in 2021 when he tried to force through a move to Man City.

Chelsea would like Mount to remain in west London but so far, there has been no breakthrough in contract talks and there is currently some distance between his demands and what the club are prepared to pay to keep him.

It’s also understood that United are in the mix for Chelsea maestro Kovacic, who also has just over one year remaining on his current contract with the Blues.

Man City and Bayern Munich are also interested in signing the former Real Madrid and Inter Milan man, who has been a key figure under Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter and Frank Lampard.

United are also planning to strengthen in other areas of the pitch but Rice, Kane, Mount and Kovacic are believed to represent their top targets as they prepare to spend big on a new striker and central midfielder.

A central defender could also be on the agenda should Harry Maguire seek to pursue a new challenge with Napoli’s Kim Min-jae strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford in the Italian press.

David de Gea’s future is also up for debate with Andre Onana, Emiliano Martinez, Jordan Pickford and David Raya all said to be of interest to the United hierarchy.

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