West Ham sporting director Mark Noble has said that no one can begrudge Declan Rice the opportunity to follow through on his desire and join another club to play Champions League football.
Noble’s comments come as interest in Rice, who is approaching the last 18 months of his contract, intensifies.
Alongside United, Arsenal and Chelsea are also said to be interested in the Englishman.
Last month, The Peoples Person reported that United are laying the groundwork for a sensational summer swoop for the West Ham captain.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has also made Rice the club’s priority target in the summer window.
Noble spoke to The Evening Standard and remarked that Rice has served the Hammers well and cannot be faulted for his ambitions.
“We’re West Ham and these players want to go out and play Champions League football – and do you blame them? Dec is no different. Dec will always be hailed at West Ham as a fantastic player and such a top, top person.”
“But I don’t think anyone begrudges him wanting to go and win things. We just hope he’ll keep performing like he has been over the last month or so. Wherever Declan ends up, or however much someone pays for him, whether it’s here or anywhere else, he’s worth every penny.”
“He’s said openly he loves playing at West Ham, but he has got ambitions as a player to go and play in the Champions League and win trophies. I don’t think any West Han fan can actually have an agenda over that.”
The West Ham legend added that if Rice did not want to continue his career somewhere else where he has a chance of competing for top honours, he would not be the player he is.
Rice’s desire to play Champions League football plays into United and Arsenal’s advantage. The Red Devils are sitting comfortably in third position and look nailed on for a top-four finish.
Arsenal lead the Premier League standings and are also likely to qualify for the competition. Chelsea are struggling in ninth position and this could hinder their hopes of signing the 24-year-old.