Manchester United have already set their top priority for next summer’s transfer window: West Ham’s Declan Rice.
‘Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward were aware of the clamour among supporters to sign a new midfielder during the transfer window, but sources have told ESPN that a winger and centre-back were identified as the club’s primary targets,’ Dawson says.
‘Sources have told ESPN that a striker and a midfielder are on the list ahead of next summer with England international Rice among a number of options that will be narrowed down over the course of the next 12 months.
‘It is likely West Ham would have to lower their valuation of the 22-year-old — who is under contract until 2024 — which has stood at more than £80 million.
‘Sources have told ESPN that he is keen to play Champions League football.’
With two years remaining on his contract next summer, it is unclear how much of a reduction the Hammers will feel compelled to make to Rice’s asking price.
However, United proved with Harry Maguire that they are prepared to pay what it takes for an England international even if he is overvalued by the selling club.
The Red Devils paid over £80 million for the centre back at a time when his market value was just over half of that value.
Rice’s current market value is around £60 million, which suggests that something close to West Ham’s valuation will still need to be met to capture his signature.
The fact that Chelsea are also keen on the London-born man will also ensure there are no bargain deals on the table for United in Rice’s case.