The England ace has just enjoyed another strong campaign for the Hammers, playing a starring role at the heart of a side that briefly threatened to upend convention by finishing among the Champions League places.
Rice helped to drive the East Londoners to a club record-breaking Premier League haul of 65 points, establishing himself as a regular team captain along the way.
Ultimately, the Hammers slipped to a still-impressive sixth place with Rice’s powerful displays as a midfield anchor garnering widespread praise and ensuring continued transfer speculation about his future.
Chelsea have long been strongly-linked with a move for their former Academy talent, with former-coach Frank Lampard known to be an ardent admirer of Rice’s defensive nous.
Although Lampard has since been replaced by Thomas Tuchel, interest in Rice is said to remain, making the race for his signature likely to be one of the slow-boil stories of the summer.
The Athletic also state that United and Chelsea should expect competition for his signature from Manchester City.
It’s long been known that domestic signings are subject to the arbitrary ‘English Tax’ and the reported fee will do little to dispel that myth, with Moyes believed to value Rice at an eye-meltingly excessive £95m.
The question posed by the report is the most pertinent one here, specifically, how much of a priority should Rice be for Reds’ boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?
Rice is clearly a very good player already and, at 22, has the potential to become even better. And yes, with Nemanja Matic on his last legs, he would represent an investment in the kind of premium defensive shield that’s been missing from the squad for a long time.
He also brings the added bonus of versatility, having proved to be a more than capable centre-back before being repurposed as a combative midfielder.
However, it just doesn’t seem plausible that United’s creaky war chest has the depth to pursue all of the targets being bandied around just now.
It’s a given that United are after Jadon Sancho and, almost definitely, a centre back so, unless they can ship out an army of the dead(wood), it doesn’t seem likely that United’s interest will progress from window-shopper to cash-splasher.