Declan Rice fits Solskjaer’s blueprint but he isn’t the £80m answer to Man Utd’s midfield problem

Declan Rice jogging during West Ham's draw against Aston Villa
The midfielder has been linked with a big-money transfer to Old Trafford from West Ham (Picture: Getty)

It appears that with each passing week there’s a footballer auditioning for a job to change into a part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future all-star forged at Manchester United.

Last weekend, all eyes had been on Leicester City’s schemer James Maddison, who in accordance to stories is United’s precedence goal subsequent summer time as they search to sprinkle some artistic stardust over a somewhat practical midfield.

This Sunday, it’s the flip of West Ham’s water-carrier to enter the highlight amid hypothesis that Solskjaer has politely requested Ed Woodward to add his title to United’s lengthy record of switch targets – this regardless of him being valued by the Hammers at between £80-90m.

Rice actually ticks most of the bins that Solskjaer and United are on the lookout for in gamers at the second. He’s 20 years outdated, he’s English and he’s gathered an excellent quantity of expertise so far, that includes just below 70 occasions for the Hammers.



That being mentioned, is he what United really want? And maybe extra pertinently, is he price the sum of money that West Ham are apparently demanding for him?

Would he enhance Manchester United’s midfield?

Although the signings of Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire had been welcomed by Manchester United followers, the largest bone of rivalry over the membership’s summer time enterprise was the failure to add a central midfielder to the squad.

United have misplaced way more technical and influential gamers in the previous than both Marouane Fellaini or Ander Herrera but permitting each to depart in the house of six months with out changing both represents somewhat questionable decision-making.

Of United’s current choices in central midfield there’s Paul Pogba, , Andreas Pereira, Nemanja Matic, Fred and at a push, Jesse Lingard. With all due respect, it isn’t the most formidable assortment of midfielders that United have ever had.

Without Paul Pogba, Manchester United’s midfield choices are restricted (Picture: Getty)

Pogba’s absence by means of damage towards Leicester emphasised United’s paucity of choices in midfield with McTominay partnered by Matic and Pereira in a distinctly workmanlike midfield trio, with the unconvincing determine of Fred additionally making a second-half look.

It could be tough to argue that signing a midfielder who has performed in 5 of England’s final six video games and began 39 of West Ham’s earlier 43 Premier League matches would do something aside from strengthen what is certainly a problem place for United at this second in time.



Is he too related to current choices?

Rice spent a piece of his youth profession cut up between Chelsea and West Ham taking part in as a central defender but it’s as a defensive-minded No.6 that he has loved his breakthrough, shielding the again 4 in an authoritative method that belies his years.

Last season, Rice made 150 tackles and interceptions mixed in the Premier League – greater than every other West Ham participant – whereas solely Felipe Anderson accomplished extra passes. Those statistics spotlight Rice’s capacity to not solely break up play but additionally assist dictate it. The query is, although, is that what United really want?

Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay battles with Southampton defender Kevin Danso for possession
Scott McTominay performs the same position in Manchester United’s midfield to Declan Rice at West Ham (Picture: Getty)

‘Would I say yes now at £80m or £90m? I’m not feeling that personally at this second in time. But am I seeing a extremely good participant who may probably become one thing improbable for the subsequent 10 years? Yes, I actually do suppose that,’ mentioned Gary Neville on Monday Night Football.

‘But would I go and spend that much money on a player [on potential]? Do Manchester United need another player [like that]? They’ve already received Nemanja Matic, they’ve already received Scott McTominay, who’re doing the same position to what I see Rice doing.’

Neville makes a sound level. Although United are in need of central midfielders, they aren’t essentially in need of defensive midfielders. On common, McTominay makes an attempt extra passes and fewer tackles than Rice does, but that’s in all probability as a result of he performs in a facet that averages Four per cent extra possession per sport.


In phrases of what they provide offensively, Rice and McTominay are just about the similar. McTominay has averaged 1.2 photographs per sport to Rice’s 0.8, made 0.6 key passes to 0.Four and tried 1.6 dribbles to 1.8.

It is debatable whether or not there could be too many events by which United would want each in the similar beginning XI.

Could the cash be higher spent elsewhere?

Manchester United flirted with the concept of signing an attacking midfielder throughout the summer time with Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes strongly linked with a transfer and each Christian Eriksen and Maddison talked about as Premier League primarily based alternate options.

Ultimately, the membership determined that fixing their defence was the high precedence and following on from the signings of Maguire and Wan-Bissaka, they’ve now moved to tie each David De Gea and Victor Lindelof to long-term contracts.

Next up on Woodward’s switch to-do record, although, can be signing a top-class creator for Solskjaer’s midfield as United, significantly when Pogba is absent, are sorely missing in that regard. They rank sixth for probabilities created this season, beneath 20th positioned Watford.

James Maddison attempts to dribble past Andreas Pereira during Leicester City's loss to Manchester United
James Maddison could be a extra worthwhile buy for Manchester United than Declan Rice (Picture: Getty)

United’s objective return of eight in 5 video games additionally ranks sixth in the Premier League charts and 1 / 4 of these have come through the penalty spot. More concerningly, half of them got here in a single sport – the 4-Zero thrashing of Chelsea 5 weeks in the past.

Look by means of United’s open play targets this season and lots of have been the results of particular person inspiration somewhat than the finish results of a free-flowing workforce transfer. All three of James’ targets, as an example, have just about come from nothing.


The patterns of attacking play prevalent in Manchester City’s play, for instance, is solely not there at United and a key issue behind that’s Solskjaer doesn’t possess a Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva or Bernardo Silva kind participant in his squad.

Signing a participant of that ilk, somewhat than one other defensive shuttler like Rice, is a much more urgent want for United over the subsequent couple of switch home windows.



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