Transfer News: Manchester United to get free run to sign West Ham United star Declan Rice this summer
According to ESPN (h/t Daily Mail), Manchester United are likely to get a free run in their attempt to sign West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice in the upcoming summer transfer window, with other Premier League rivals backing off in the transfer race.
Rice has been a revelation for West Ham over the past few years, turning into their midfield enforcer and also a leader in the squad – taking over the armband when Mark Noble is not on the pitch. He has also become a full England international, proving his worth on the international stage.
United are in the market for midfield reinforcements ahead of the new season, and Rice would prove to be a fantastic addition to a side that has suffered through a disappointing campaign. However, the Hammers value him to be worth more than £100m, which will prove to be quite an expensive affair.
His mammoth price tag has caused the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool to back out of the transfer race to secure his services in the summer. Other clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal may not even bother competing as they do not have the finances to afford him, which gives the Red Devils a straight shot at landing him.
Moder-day version of Paul Ince
It is said that United are keen to add the 23-year-old to their squad in the hopes that he turns into a modern-day version of Paul Ince in the team, who was known to boast qualities such as tenacity, determination, and leadership. These are the kind of traits that are missing in the current midfield at the club, while also lacking in depth and quality.
With the impending arrival of Erik ten Hag in the summer to take over as the new permanent manager of the Premier League giants, the Englishman’s transfer is viewed to be a statement signing. Despite the recent demise of the club in comparison to its other rivals, it is an attempt to prove to other potential targets that the Manchester side is preparing for a rebuild.
With players like Nemanja Matic announcing his departure and Paul Pogba seemingly running down his contract in the summer to leave as a free agent, the midfield options at the club are thinning. Quality players are on their way out the doors at Old Trafford, making reinforcements a priority.
Fred and Scott McTominay have not been convincing enough to prove they can handle the responsibility of leading the side in the middle of the pitch, and Donny van de Beek’s return to the club at the end of the season does not guarantee his stay in the starting XI.
Rice’s transfer fee may be massive, but with other clubs backing out of the race to sign him, this is United’s best shot at securing the services of a player who can prove to be a long-term asset in the side as well as develop into a future leader.
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His stock may only rise soon if West Ham end up winning the Europa League this season, so the Red Devils would hopefully be wise enough to take action and not miss out on an opportunity like this. With a World Cup around the corner, perhaps Rice may also be looking for a bigger platform to prove his worth to Gareth Southgate.
A homegrown player who is yet to approach the prime of his playing career, Rice is also a player who can slot in defence occasionally- if and when needed. He is a player United would be very wise to bring in, but it remains to be seen if they do that this summer.