Manchester United’s reported interest in West Ham’s Declan Rice has been dealt a blow with the news that the Hammers are determined to resist any bids for their star midfielder.
United were linked with the England international over the summer, but were thought to have been unwilling – or unable – to meet the Hammers’ hefty £100m valuation.
Recent reports have stated that, despite being fended off in the last window, the Red Devils still view Rice as the No.1 candidate to improve their midfield woes.
However, the Daily Mail has claimed that, far from considering life-after-Rice, Hammers’ boss David Moyes intends to build a European quality outfit around the England maestro.
It’s also believed the Londoners’ ambitions to become a genuine Premier League force could be boosted by an expected cash injection from investor Daniel Kretinsky.
United are not thought to be alone in throwing admiring glances the 22-year-old’s way. It’s rumoured that both Manchester City and Chelsea are also interested.
Despite the circling sharks, it seems inevitable that anything less than an astronomical bid would be quickly dismissed. Moyes himself recently declared that not even £100m would be enough to guarantee a sale.
The former United coach said of his rapidly-improving ace, “There was a bargain to be got with Declan at £100m. That bargain’s now gone.”
While Rice’s string of assured performances has seen his stock rising, United fans have been left to rue their club’s failure to invest in their engine room. It’s a decision that gets more baffling with each passing defeat.
And, although it seems understandable that fans look for the ‘magic bullet’ midfielder who could come in and instantly change their fortunes, it’s also perhaps a bit unrealistic.
After all, surely only the most optimistic supporter could imagine a scenario where the club splashes out over £100m in January. Using their huge scouting network to find a lesser-known gem might be the smarter move.
As for Rice, the player himself will decide his next step. For all West Ham’s noble intentions, the days of clubs calling the shots are largely over.
If he chooses to take on a new challenge, the smart money would be on him eventually getting what he wants.