Man Utd handed boost in Declan Rice transfer pursuit as Chelsea eye alternative
Manchester United could find themselves with a clear run at Declan Rice next summer as Chelsea consider transfer alternatives.
Both clubs were linked with the West Ham midfielder, who stayed put at the London Stadium this summer.
United and Chelsea remain keen and could test the Hammers' resolve with a bid in 12 months time.
The Blues though have their sights set on Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni.
Aged 21, the midfielder has already made 91 appearances in Ligue 1 but those at Stamford Bridge felt he could benefit from another year in France.
The Athletic report that Tchouameni is highly thought of by club chiefs at Stamford Bridge and he will be an option next summer.
Already he is being capped by France and played alongside Paul Pogba in their recent draw with Ukraine.
The United star was complimentary about his compatriot, saying: "Very very good. He’s not a boy, he’s a man.
"It was a pleasure to play next to him. He brings a lot of energy. A lot of energy, extraordinary technical and physical quality.
"We wish him to play lots of matches. and that I am always at his side."
If Chelsea do pursue Tchouameni it would leave United free to pursue Rice, with a midfielder thought to be on their wish list.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had wanted to add someone in the middle of the park - and failing to do so could cost him this season.
Doubts remain over Fred and Scott McTominay at the highest level, especially if United do want to do away with playing two at the base of midfield.
Rice has proven himself capable of dictating play and breaking up attacks for West Ham.
According to reports the midfielder has no intention of signing a new deal in the capital, but has by no means issued a plea to go elsewhere.
David Moyes has previously said that it would take a bid of £100m, which would break United's transfer record, to consider selling Rice.
“We’ve got some players that we value at £100million and we won’t be selling them,” he told talkSPORT.
“That’s the way it is, you’re not going to get rid of your better players, you don’t do it. And if you are then it’s going to be for huge money.
“So from that point of view I think the clubs are right to do so. But I think there are an awful lot of other clubs that are probably not able to pay that money and look to those levels."