Manchester United have reportedly been handed a major boost in their pursuit of Declan Rice, with the West Ham star open to making the switch this summer.
According to an exclusive report from the Manchester Evening News, West Ham United star Declan Rice would be interested in joining Manchester United in the upcoming transfer window and has asked about the club with some of his England teammates.
Rice, 22, has grown into one of the best holding midfielders in the Premier League over the past couple of years. Having started out as a centre-back, the England international has made a successful transition to the centre of the park and is a mainstay for both club and country.
Rice’s growth and development at the London Stadium has not gone unnoticed, with boyhood club Chelsea trying hard to re-sign him in the summer transfer window last year. However, a move failed to materialise and having stayed out at West Ham, the 22-year-old has played a critical role in their top-four push in the Premier League.
Indeed, Rice has missed just two of West Ham United’s 31 Premier League games this term and has captained the side in a majority of his 29 appearances. With another transfer window almost upon us, Manchester United have cast admiring glances towards the midfielder and are said to be intent on landing him in the summer.
The need for a new defensive midfielder at Manchester United stems from the fact that Nemanja Matic is in the final phase of his career and has been reduced to a bit-part player under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season. Given that Fred can be world-class one day and totally diastrous the next, having someone consistent like Rice could play a huge role in the Red Devils’ being able to take the next step in their rebuild under the Norwegian.
To that end, reports earlier this year had claimed that the 20-time English champions had been in touch with Rice’s representatives in order to be kept in the loop over any developments in his transfer scenario. Now, it is being claimed that Rice himself would be open to a transfer to Old Trafford and has asked the United players in the England squad last month – Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Dean Henderson about the club.
Any deal, however, would be complicated given as West Ham are under no pressure to sell. Rice is contracted with the Hammers till 2024 and with the club set for a top-four or at least a top-six finish, their position will be strengthened further. Recently, manager David Moyes claimed that the 22-year-old was worth more than £100 million, so there is a good chance that they will demand a massive fee for him.
However, Jesse Lingard can become a factor in the transfer. The 28-year-old is on loan at West Ham currently and they are intent on making his transfer permanent after his scintillating run of form. So, there could be the possibility of Manchester United using their academy graduate to bring down Rice’s transfer fee. It now remains to be seen how this saga develops over the coming weeks.