According to ESPN, Manchester United are the only remaining club who might attempt to sign Declan Rice this summer.
The England international has also attracted interest from the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City in recent transfer windows but now it’s being reported that United have a clear run at trying to prise him away from east London this summer.
That’s because it’s believed the other three Premier League giants either have higher expensive transfer priorities (Man City), would prefer to seek cheaper alternatives (Liverpool) or have the ongoing distraction of a takeover (Chelsea). As a result, it’s suggested United are now the only club that would be willing to pay what is expected to be more than £100m for Rice’s signature.
It’s still unclear whether incoming new United boss Erik ten Haag has any interest in Rice as a serious transfer target, nor whether he views the price tag West Ham have put on him as worth the financial outlay.
Put simply, any club that spends over £100m on one player will need to rethink their level of spending on other areas of their squad during the same window. The issue for West Ham here is that Man United’s midfield is in desperate need of an overhaul alongside their defense. Both positions Rice can play in.
However, despite Man United still being one of the biggest clubs in the world in terms of stature and reputation, it can be argued that they are no longer the attractive proposition they once were for players looking to take a step up in their career.
As things stand, it’s incredibly likely that both clubs will both be playing in the Europa League next season and there’s a high chance the Hammers could be in the Champions League if they can succeed in their attempt at winning the Europa League this month.
By doing so, that puts them in a very strong position to keep Rice in east London a little longer, while it would severely weaken any chance Man United might have had of tempting Rice to Old Trafford.
The 23-year-old recently admitted that his desire to win trophies and compete in the Champions League is “urgent” which is understandable for a player of his ability. But if it just comes down to that, then West Ham arguably have a much higher chance of delivering that than Man United. They could even deliver both to him within the next two weeks if things go their way.
Man United are a club in decline, despite ten Haag’s impending arrival. No manager has managed to steady the sinking Old Trafford ship since Sir Alex Ferguson left them in 2013 and aside from being able to offer more in wages than West Ham, they can’t currently claim to be the club to deliver Rice what he so urgently wants for his own career ambitions.
West Ham could do that this month and, even if they don’t, they are not a million miles behind Man United in terms of what’s possible on the pitch at this moment in time.
So, Man United might have a clear run at Declan Rice this summer, but that’s not the terrifying prospect for West Ham and David Moyes that it perhaps once was. It’s hard to even believe a scenario where Rice pushes for a move to somewhere like Old Trafford, which shows just how far Man United have fallen and how high West Ham are beginning to climb.