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Man City 'Lead the Pursuit' for West Ham Star - Player Prepared to Leave Despite Champions League Possibility

Manchester City are reportedly leading the race to sign in-demand West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice, according to a new claim from England this weekend.

Declan Rice, who has become key to David Moyes' success at the London Stadium over the past two years, is reportedly prepared to leave West Ham at the end of the campaign, with City being one of a number of clubs interested the defensive midfielder. 

The 22 year-old, who recently withdrew from the England squad for matches against Albania and San Marino, has made eleven Premier League appearances so far this season and has been directly involved in four West Ham goals. 

David Moyes' side have won their last four Premier League matches, beating Jurgen Klopp's title-challenging Liverpool 3-2 last time out, as the London club continue their pursuit of a possible top four finish. 

However, Graeme Bailey of 90Min reports that Declan Rice is prepared to leave the London Stadium, even if West Ham manage to qualify for the Champions League, while the midfielder's existing contract is due to expire in 2024. 

Rice has been heavily linked with potential move to Chelsea in previous transfer windows, but is reportedly admired at the Etihad Stadium, with Manchester City potentially in the market for a new defensive midfielder in the upcoming summer. 

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Current club captain Fernandinho, who signed a one-year contract extension last summer, could leave City after nine years at the end of the ongoing season, having won 12 trophies since joining in 2013. 

A potential departure for Fernandinho could subsequently become a reason why Manchester City, according to the information of 90Min, are 'continuing to lead the pursuit' of Declan Rice. 

Plenty of England's finest talents already play under Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, with the Blues having most recently added Jack Grealish to their squad for £100 million in the previous transfer window. 

However, the aforementioned price tag for Grealish is seemingly set to become a benchmark for future English transfers, with 90Min reporting that West Ham hold a £120 million valuation of Declan Rice - a fee that if matched, will see the Hammers sanction a sale.

If Manchester City are to make any attempts to sign Declan Rice, who West Ham are understandably 'reluctant' to sell, they are set to face major competition from the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea, as well as Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Inter from the continent.

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