Manchester United are understood to be looking for alternative options to Declan Rice as they push ahead with their transfer plans for 2022.
West Ham and England star Rice has been on United’s wanted list for the best part of two years. And without a central midfielder being added to the squad this summer, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has it as one of two priorities for next season.
The other objective is to persuade Borrussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland to sign on at Old Trafford. While of course a defensive holding midfielder remains high on the club’s agenda.
But, according to ESPN reporter Mark Ogden, United officials are not so convinced Rice is the right man for United.
Ogden claims that “scouts have been instructed to identify alternative options to Declan Rice”.
Whether or not Rice’s below-par display against United last Sunday has influenced their thinking is unclear. Rice though has been in good form at the start of the season. While his displays for England are becoming more dominant.
United though are thinking about other targets with their valuation of the player not matching the £80m to £90m that the Hammers are thinking about.
Per the report, United officials are “yet to be convinced” that Rice “possesses the qualities to take the team to another level”.
For his part, Solskjaer is understood to be a big fan of the 22-year-old. But the United hierarchy doubt whether Rice is “quick enough, with and without the ball”. They are also considered if he would offer more than Scott McTominay or just replicate the Scotland’s international’s hard-running and combative style.
It has led ESPN to claim that United feel they can find “an alternative from outside the Premier League”. A player who would be just as effective for a fraction of the price West Ham want for Rice.
West Ham price tag at £100m, says Nolan
The Independent recently stated that United had reignited their interest in the player.
But Hammers coach Kevin Nolan is adamant that Rice will not be sold, even if a mega offer comes in for his services.
He told the Football Daily Show on the BBC: “When you’re in the room with Declan Rice, you know you’re in the room with Declan Rice, but he doesn’t make you feel uneasy. He’s one of those kids who wants to learn, wants to get better. Always willing to take advice on, always willing to try and get better and want to get better.
“The biggest thing for me as a coach is he listens to me, he respects me for what I’ve done. But I feel that this lad can go on. Ifeel he’s already done more than I have in terms of England appearances, being in Europe and things like that.
“He’s going to keep going because his athleticism. He trains every day, he wants to train every day, he can hit it from one side of the pitch [to the other] with his right foot or his left foot. He can run with the ball, he’s got everything that you could possibly wish for as a footballer.
“Plus he’s got a good footballing brain where he’s now learning for West Ham. He’s done it with England, he’s now learning how to control games.
“When you watch him play, he just seems in control of everything. For me, he’s going to get better. Putting a price tag on him, I wouldn’t sell him for £100m.”