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EXCLUSIVE: West Ham, Palace ready to swoop for Sunderland starlet

Sunderland could be set to lose one of the stars of their youth team in Josh Hawkes, TEAMtalk understands.

The Black Cats signed 21-year-old Hawkes last summer after he secured his release from Hartlepool United. Hawkes has been a star for Sunderland’s Under-23 side and has played a huge part in them reaching the Premier League play-offs, in which they have reached the final.

Despite his form Lee Johnson has opted not to bring Hawkes into the first-team picture, but his performances have impressed others as we can now reveal a host of Premier League clubs are ready to bid.

Hawkes had Premier League interest last summer and also rejected a move to Portugal with Sporting Braga.

Now, he is set to move on again with interest very high. And TEAMtalk can reveal that his next move could very well take him to the capital as it is West Ham and Crystal Palace, who he will face in the Premier League 2 Division 2 play-off final, who are leading the chase.

Leeds and Newcastle, who were very keen on Hawkes last year, also remain interested. The Premier League pair could yet make a move for the highly-regarded midfielder, who has one year left on the deal he signed last summer.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have sensationally revived their interest in Declan Rice after new boss Thomas Tuchel gave the green light to move for the West Ham man, claims a report.

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New Rice assault from Chelsea

Rice was firmly on the radar of former Blues boss Frank Lampard. He recently admitted the England midfielder was on his wanted list but for “various reasons” a move never got off the ground.

“It didn’t happen for various reasons, but we brought in a lot of players in the summer. But I was a big fan of him. For understandable reasons, West Ham know the player that they have on their hands.

“I don’t want Declan to be in an uncomfortable position through this because all I see from him is absolute performance and desire to play for West Ham.

“They gave him the chance there and the choice will be Declan’s as the years go ahead, but his performances are great to watch.”

Lampard’s sacking seemingly ended Chelsea’s hopes over Rice. But now the Daily Telegraph say Tuchel is also an admirer of Rice and wants to pursue him.

The report claims Tuchel has quickly become a huge fan of the player, whom reports claimed Lampard was keen to turn into a centre-back.

The German coach has been so impressed with Rice that he has recommended him to transfer chief Marina Granovskaia.

READ MORE: Paper Talk: Old Mourinho target to fall into Solskjaer’s lap

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