He continues to remain on the radar of the west London giants and it has been recently suggested that he may prefer to remain in the English capital.
However, United appear to be keeping a close eye on the player’s situation and it is reported that they could rival the Blues for the midfielder’s services next summer.
Rice has more than three years remaining on his contract and the Hammers have the option of extending his deal for another 12 months.
Hence, they are in a strong position to keep hold of him and ESPN reports that they could demand around £70 million to consider his sale.
Despite United’s interest, it is suggested that the Blues are still favourites to sign him with United cautious about their spending amid the coronavirus pandemic.
United currently have Scott McTominay, Fred, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba, who can slot into the defensive midfield position.
Out of the quartet, Pogba has played in a more advanced role of late, but his future remains a topic of discussion with his contract expiring in June 2022.
So far, there have not been any fresh negotiations over a new contract and his potential departure could pave the way for the arrival of Rice.
Otherwise, the Red Devils may be reluctant to meet the £70m asking price for Rice as they may not be able to recoup sufficient funds from player sales.
Hence, the Blues could have the advantage in the player’s pursuit, having spent more than £220m on new signings in the previous summer transfer window.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com