Manchester City 'enter the race to sign Declan Rice from West Ham with Pep Guardiola identifying the £100m-rated midfielder as Fernandinho's replacement' amid ongoing interest from rivals Manchester United
The 22-year-old impressed at Euro 2020 as England made the final and has regularly captained the Hammers, with David Moyes' men sitting sixth after an impressive start to the season.
Now, The Sun are reporting that Pep Guardiola to add the former Chelsea academy prospect to his squad next summer as a replacement for 36-year-old Fernandinho, who is in the last year of his contract and is apparently unlikely to sign a new deal.
City are said to have tracked Rice since he broke into West Ham's first team at 18 and placed him high on their list of transfer targets, with Rice rejecting two new contract offers by the Irons a few months ago.
It is also not believed that a nine-figure fee would act as a deterrent to City given that time is on Rice's side.
The Englishman's current contract runs out in 2024 and there is no immediate pressure for West Ham to offload him.
There is also the possibility that they could be playing Champions League football at the London Stadium next season.
United have long been linked with a move with Rice, with the contracts of midfielders Paul Pogba, Fred and Nemanja Matic ending in 2022, 2023 and 2023 respectively.
The average performances of Fred, Matic and Scott McTominay - and Donny van de Beek continued struggle for minutes - means the Red Devils are in need of a top-class deep-lying midfielder, with technical director Darren Fletcher and the club's director of football John Murtagh said to have identified Rice as the man to take Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men to the next level.
Rice is thought to be happy at West Ham, especially given that the club are playing Europa League football this season.
However, his stock is expected to continue rising, with the East Londoners in the enviable position of starting a bidding war between two of the richest clubs in world football.