Manchester United eyeing West Ham’s Declan Rice transfer next summer

Manchester United remain interested in recruiting West Ham star Declan Rice regardless of deciding against signing a midfielder in the recent summer transfer window.

Declan Rice of West Ham United

The Red Devils enjoyed a fantastic summer transfer window—arguably their best in recent times—signing Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Tom Heaton. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer favoured bolstering his attack and defence over midfield, thereby, spending over £100m.

Now, it is claimed Manchester United will target reinforcing their midfield options next summer with Declan Rice their no.1 target. Rice, 22, formed a strong partnership with Tomas Soucek in the middle of the park and played a key role behind West Ham finishing sixth on the Premier League table, qualifying for the Europa League as a result.

However, the England international, who is contracted with the Hammers until 2024, is keen to play in the Champions League. It is likely West Ham would have to lower their valuation of Rice, which is more than £80 million. Chelsea are also believed to be admirers of the 22-year-old defensive midfielder.

Donny van de Beek’s future up in the air; Paul Pogba in the final year of his contract

In Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Fred, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay, Manchester United have a really strong midfield unit. However, that doesn’t paint the whole picture with Solskjaer keen to fix the glaring issues in his midfield.

Donny van de Beek, 24, arrived from Ajax last summer with a lot of fanfare but has failed to establish himself in Solskjaer’s starting XI. He made just four Premier League starts in the entire 2020/21 campaign, and with the Dutchman yet to feature this season, his future at Old Trafford remains up in the air.

At 33, Nemanja Matic cannot cover a lot of ground as he did during his heyday with Chelsea, while Fred and Scott McTominay don’t offer much in terms of creativity from deep to open up opposition teams. Paul Pogba has entered the final year of his contract, with the French international free to negotiate with European clubs in the New Year.

Declan Rice could be the missing piece in the Reds’ jigsaw

Given the current situation in midfield, Solskjaer must prioritise addressing the most glaring hole in his squad, i.e. the defensive midfield position. And with the demand to address what many feel is the final piece in the jigsaw, Manchester United should go all out for Declan Rice next summer.

Rice has gone from strength to strength at West Ham since enjoying his breakthrough campaign in 2017/18, developing as one of the nation’s top young midfielders. At just 22, he has already made over 150 appearances in all competitions for the Hammers and has started the new campaign very well.

A solid passer of the ball with bundles of energy to cover a lot of ground and excellent defensive qualities, Rice would fit like a glove in Solskjaer’s side and allow the likes of creative midfielders to play their natural game. With the England international’s game reading acumen, he would be a straight upgrade on Fred while bringing competition within the United squad. Truly, he can potentially develop under Solskjaer and become a big player for the Reds.

Given Chelsea are also interested in Rice, it will be difficult for Manchester United to sign him from West Ham. Yet, they must go all out to bring the England international to Old Trafford next summer as he could go a long way in solving their midfield’s conundrum.

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