According to the Express, West Ham United have set an astounding £100m asking fee for Declan Rice in an attempt to sway off interest from Manchester United and Manchester City. United, in particular, are believed to be keen on signing the midfielder, following an uneventful start to their campaign. But, should the Red Devils meet West Ham’s hefty price-tag for Rice in this upcoming January transfer window?
The decline of Matic
Manchester United arguably have the weakest midfield unit among the Premier League’s big guns this season. It is mainly due to the lack of a reliable holding midfielder, who can keep the side ticking in the middle of the park while also protecting the backline.
Matic is currently one of the most experienced members of the current Man United side. However, the Serbian has struggled to cope with the high paced nature of English football in the recent past. The ex-Chelsea star has often looked tentative with the ball at his feet and has been beaten way too easily at times inside his own half.
As a result, the Red Devils manager Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer has had to rely on the services of youngster Scott McTominay. However, the Scot has very little experience and is perhaps not ready to take on the mantle of becoming the club’s number six.
Pogba likely to leave?
While Matic has been on a steady decline, Manchester United superstar Paul Pogba is reportedly desperate to leave Old Trafford in January. The Frenchman was linked with a move away from Old Trafford earlier this summer, but a move didn’t materialise.
However, after a stuttering start to the campaign, the World Cup winner is hell-bent on putting an end to his second spell at Manchester United. And this could create a massive void in the midfield department for Solskjaer’s side.
In addition, big-money arrival Fred has continued to struggle as well, thus accentuating the need for a new midfielder.
Where does Rice fit in at Man United?
Rice may not be a like for like replacement for Pogba, who is more of a number eight. But, he could be an excellent long-term replacement for the ageing Matic.
The West Ham midfielder is already one of the most experienced individuals at his current club, having racked up 77 competitive appearances for the Hammers. He has been a first-team regular for two seasons now and is also an England international. He is, therefore, likely ready to take the next step in his career.
Rice’s aggression, coupled with his work-rate, could help Manchester United become much more vigilant in midfield. Additionally, his potential partnership with McTominay in the centre of the pitch is ideally suited to Solskjaer’s philosophy which revolves around young, talented British players.
However, the Red Devils must negotiate with West Ham and try to lower Rice’s price-tag. Offering a fringe player as a sweetener might not be a bad idea as well.