Manchester rivals United and City “would want” Declan Rice, says West Ham legend Tony Cottee, while Chelsea are also expected to show interest once their recruitment ban is lifted.
Transfer talk has built steadily around the versatile 20-year-old in recent times.
It has been suggested that a big-money approach from Old Trafford could be made at some stage, but Cottee doubts United will be the only club to show interest if the door is opened.
The former West Ham striker told talkSPORT: “I do like him [Rice] as a centre-back. I think he will end up there.
“That's what you are buying. You're buying a holding midfielder player, but you are also buying a player that can play centre-half in a back four and in a back three as well. So, you are getting a really, really top player.
“Of course, let's not forget, he did grow up as a Chelsea fan. Maybe once their embargo [is lifted], they'll be looking as well.
“There are many, many teams that will be interested in Dec, but I want him to stay at West Ham. And to do that they need to win [a] cup or get into Europe.”
While suggesting that Rice could attract interest from Premier League champions City, Cottee believes another England starlet should be looking for a way out of the Etihad Stadium.
Phil Foden is not getting the necessary game time to further his development, with a move needed – either on loan or permanent.
Former Three Lions frontman Cottee added on the 19-year-old playmaker: “I’m really frustrated with Phil Foden. He is an unbelievable, outstanding young footballer but he’s got to play!
“If you’re sitting on the bench, yes people will say he’s training with the first team, but it’s not the same as playing.
“You have to get the game time and experience. He needs to play. This is a big season for him, and he’s not playing!
“If I was Phil Foden, I would be banging on that door every single week and saying, ‘I want to play and if you’re not going to play me, I’m going out on loan’.
“The young lad [Bobby Duncan] has just left Liverpool because he wants to play football – these young kids have to play, they’ve got to learn they’re trade and Foden is not learning it on the bench.
“He’s 19 now and your career goes so quickly. You need to be in the first team and you’ve got to be playing.
“I understand it’s a great team and who does he replace, I understand that, but he’s such a wonderful talent.
“I think Foden has a place in that England team. We talk about the balance of that midfield and needing a creative player and Foden is that. He’s an outstanding talent and we need him in that England team.
“But unless he’s playing, which he’s not, he’s not going to get in it.”