Declan Rice reacts to Man Utd transfer rumours as West Ham teammates mock £150m price tag

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West Ham United captain Declan Rice has reacted to the ever-swirling speculation linking him with a summer move to Manchester United. Rice is understood to be near the summit of the Red Devils’ midfield shortlist and has reportedly turned down three contract extension proposals.

United are searching for a new defensive midfielder at the dawn of Erik ten Hag’s rebuild at Old Trafford. With Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba leaving on free transfers at the end of the season, it’s a priority area within the club’s recruitment in the summer transfer window.

Rice’s refusal to commit his future at the London Stadium has indicated his desire for a new challenge amid long-standing links with United and boyhood club Chelsea. But the 23-year-old isn’t getting carried away with transfer talk and is focused on finishing the campaign with a flourish.

He told Sky Sports: “I feel like playing well comes with speculation. I’ve had two or three top seasons with West Ham, and the top clubs around the country are always going to be watching. It’s not just me; it’s the same for every player. I think it’s important not to get too carried away with that.

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“We’ve had a good season with West Ham, and there have been big games I’ve had to play in, so I feel like my focus has always been on that. If I thought about other things, I’d get carried away, and that wouldn’t be fair on the team or the manager. I can’t help speculation, even with the numbers that get talked about.”

In April, Hammers boss David Moyes slapped a £150million price tag on Rice and stressed his prized asset isn’t for sale. And the England international has admitted he gets ‘battered’ for his potential transfer fee on social media and in the West Ham dressing room.

“I get battered for it all the time on social media, but I can’t help that,” Rice added. “I can help by going on the pitch and performing as best as I can. They [West Ham team-mates] wind me up all the time. It’s crazy to speak about, to be honest, so I just kind of block it out and do what I do best, and that’s play football.”

West Ham are still battling for a sixth-place finish in the Premier League, guaranteeing them another season in the Europa League. However, Rice and Co. will hope to turn around a 2-1 deficit in the competition’s semi-finals this term at Eintracht Frankfurt next week. If they’re successful, a final in Seville against RB Leipzig or Rangers awaits, with Champions League qualification on offer for the victor.

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