David Moyes has given the strongest indication yet that Declan Rice will leave West Ham this summer.
Speaking after the Hammers’ 1-1 draw with Newcastle, a game in which Rice excelled, Moyes said:
“It’s interesting, undoubtedly Declan is going to be a top player and undoubtedly he will be a British transfer record if he ever leaves West Ham. It will be a British transfer record and more.
“You shouldn’t [ask how much that will be], not when you look at what you can buy for £85 million or £90 million these days, so….”
What made the comments more interesting was that, as The Telegraph notes, “The Scot was not asked about Rice leaving or how much he was worth, he volunteered it.”
The question for Manchester United fans is whether their club will join the fight for the England man, or indeed, whether it should.
It seems almost inevitable that the 24 year old will stay in the Premier League, with Real Madrid more focused on the likes of Jude Bellingham for their midfield. Chelsea have been touted as his preferred destination but that may be getting more complicated.
Todd Boehly’s out of control spending at Stamford Bridge coupled with on-field lack of success is starting to paint a picture of a very unstable environment in West London.
If the Blues fail to qualify for the Champions League this season, which is looking very possible, it will be a deterrent for a player who wants to test himself at the highest level.
Liverpool, too, are in a state of flux and looking unlikely to qualify for Europe’s elite tournament.
Arsenal are also interested but their owners are more circumspect than Boehly when it comes to splashing the cash and they might baulk at the kind of fee the Hammers will be demanding.
So, depending on United’s financial situation come June – they may have new owners or at least, new investment – they could find themselves with a very good chance of signing Rice should they themselves have qualified for the Champions League.
But would Ten Hag allocate that sort of chunk of cash to a position where he already has one of the world’s best in Casemiro? Would those two belong in the same midfield as each other or would it be a case of one or the other? That on its own is a topic for a whole tactical analysis report, but suffice to say, it would be a formidable midfield if enough creativity could be found within it.
What happens will probably depend on the ownership issue. If United are backed by some mega rich person or entity, going for a world class midfield player such as Rice without having to compromise in other departments makes perfect sense. It also prevents him from falling into the hands of a top six rival. But if Ten Hag has a limited budget, over £100 million for potentially a rotation option might be a luxury he cannot afford.
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