Declan Rice is interested in joining Manchester United this summer.
The MEN has revealed the West Ham star would be open to sealing a move to Old Trafford after spending time with some of United’s players during England’s World Cup qualifiers last month.
Still only 22-years-old, Rice has established himself as one of the most exciting young English talents in recent seasons, delivering consistently strong performances for West Ham which have deservedly enhanced his reputation.
United have tracked his progression for more than two years but, while it’s understandable that Rice is firmly on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ‘s transfer radar, West Ham have made it clear they won’t allow their prized asset to leave cheaply.
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David Moyes has claimed Rice is worth ‘far more’ than £100m and with West Ham still in contention to qualify for European football next season, the London club certainly hold all the aces regarding the midfielder’s long-term future.
It would clearly take a substantial fee to tempt West Ham into sanctioning any move for Rice, and when considering the current economic climate it’s highly likely United will only be able to facilitate one marquee transfer this summer.
So, does John Murtough enquire to sign Rice or strengthen an area on the field which demands more attention?
United’s newly-installed football director will have to address that dilemma with the guidance of Solskjaer, although the decision could be made easier by James Garner who is currently enjoying his second loan spell of the season in the Championship.
Garner has excelled in the second tier this campaign, swiftly becoming a key component in Nottingham Forest’s midfield and regularly playing against hardened professionals much his senior, seemingly maturing with every appearance.
While some may feel it’s too still too early for Garner’s credentials to be tested in the Premier League, it’s worth noting that players like Mason Mount have already set the blueprint, flawlessly making the transition between the divisions.
It seems logical for Solskjaer to present Garner with an opportunity to break through to the first team at United than to lavishly spend on Rice and the academy graduate’s performances at Forest surely merit that chance.
Whether Garner has the ability to seize that opportunity and make that midfield position his own at Old Trafford remains to be seen, but United have nothing to lose – and plenty to gain – attempting to find out.