football.london understands that the Blues were once close to reaching an agreement with Mount over a new deal but, following his return from the World Cup Qatar, an offer was no longer on the table. Then, towards the end of January, the west Londoners reopened talks with the England international, though he didn’t want to sign a one-year extension.
It’s believed that Mount has not received another proposal since, meaning he’ll become a free agent at the end of next season. With a departure on the cards, football.london understands that Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal are all seriously interested in his signature.
As for Rice, Arsenal hold a strong interest in the player despite having signed Jorginho, football.london understands. It’s also understood that the Hammers captain remains a key target for Chelsea but, without Champions League football, a move to west London looks unlikely.
While Arsenal and Chelsea will be desperate to secure the signatures of the duo, the Red Devils appear to have the upper hand. Both Mount and Rice have both previously admitted their emotional connection with Old Trafford.
Speaking to Amazon Prime last year, the Blues ace explained how Cristiano Ronaldo was an inspiration of his while growing up. Mount explained: “I think everyone has seen the video of when I was younger basing my free kick off him.
“I always watched him very closely when he was at United as a young kid. I loved the way he played, his free kicks. I’m a massive Pompey fan, so I went to the game when they played at Old Trafford and he scored that free-kick against David James.
“I was actually at the game, in the corner so I saw it first hand and I think after that I kind of fell in love with the technique and what he’d done and him as a player. So I always try to look at and work out, what can I do, to put it into my game?
“But now to play against him and be up against him is the journey that you go on from watching someone in the stands as a fan and then to being on the same pitch and playing against them. It’s a crazy journey and yeah, that’s why I love football so much.”
In October, Rice revealed his fondness for the ‘Theatre of Dreams’. In an interview with Sky Sports, the West Ham skipper said: “It’s inspiring for sure – it’s Old Trafford. You think of the heritage, the big games that have been here, the top players that have played here.
“You want to come here as a player and stamp your mark and stamp your authority – one to get a win, and two to play well yourself.”