Man Utd star ‘admired’ by Roy Hodgson but Watford failed with deadline-day raid

Scott McTominay, Phil Jones

Watford manager Roy Hodgson is reportedly a big admirer of a Manchester United player but was unable to sign him for the Hornets on deadline day.

The Vicarage Road side had a busy January transfer window as five new players joined. Left-back Hassane Kamara, central defender Samir and midfielder Edo Kayembe were among them.

Watford also completed the signing of goalkeeper Maduka Okoye from Sparta Rotterdam, although he will spend the rest of the season back on loan in the Netherlands.

The only attacking capture was of Nigeria winger Samuel Kalu. Following the announcement, the 24-year-old revealed former Watford player M’Baye Niang had helped him with his decision to join.

“When I heard about the opportunity I was feeling grateful,” Kalu said. “It’s one of my dreams to play in the Premier League, this is what I want. I will be here to give my best.

“I spoke to M’Baye Niang, he was my team-mate in Bordeaux, he told me a lot about the Premier League and he was here before, he told me it’s a great club. He said the Premier League is the best league in the world, so I should grab my chance.

“[Slovakia, Belgium and France] are all good leagues but I see the Premier League as more intense, powerful, I see it as the strongest league in the world.

“With my experience from the leagues I have played in, it’s quite similar with Ligue 1 and the Premier League. It’s amazing, every game is like a final, playing against the top clubs in the world.”

Roy Hodgson ‘admires’ Man Utd man

A report has now revealed Hodgson and Watford’s pursuit of a United star, although they did not manage to see it through before the window closed.

According to Football Insider, Hodgson is a big admirer of centre-half Phil Jones. The pair worked together during Hodgson’s time as England boss between May 2012 and June 2016.

As such, the manager sanctioned a late move for Jones in January. But it was pushed back by United, presumably as Ralf Rangnick plans to utilise him over the next few months.

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The Englishman recently returned from a long-term knee injury which kept him out for the entire 2020-21 campaign. He put in a solid display on his Premier League return against Wolves, but the Red Devils were beaten 1-0 at Old Trafford.

Jones could leave United in the summer to become a regular starter elsewhere. Watford will be one of several clubs to keep an eye on his situation before then.

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Man Utd target has new price tag

Meanwhile, West Ham have reportedly slapped a new price tag on Declan Rice after David Moyes dismissed the previous £100m fee as ‘cheap sales’.

As one of Gareth Southgate’s most important England stars, Rice is on the wish list of top Premier League clubs United, Man City and Chelsea. They’re all considering making an offer for him in the summer transfer window.

However, Moyes is determined to make the 23-year-old a Hammers leader and legend. As per the Evening Standard, he wants him to become their Tony Adams or Roy Keane.

“You’ll need humongous money to get close,” Moyes said in his press conference on Friday.

“I said in the summer that I thought Declan Rice was £100m. That was the sales, that was cheap, that was your chance to get Declan Rice cheap.

“He’s like a special edition. For me, he’s probably the best midfield player in Europe.”

Everyone has their price, though. If West Ham were to receive a mind-blowing offer, it would be very hard to resist.

According to 90min, it would take a £120m bid for them to consider selling Rice. That would make him the most expensive British player of all time.

READ MORE: Man Utd sense opportunity to snatch Chelsea target from under their nose as interest is detailed