Declan Rice would walk straight into the Manchester United first team, reckons former Premier League star Trevor Sinclair.
Rice has long been linked to Old Trafford and with his future at West Ham far from certain, again finds himself on the Red Devils’ radar as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeks to bolster his midfield options.
The 22-year-old has again been touted as an ideal candidate to partner Scott McTominay at the base of United’s midfield by the former West Ham star.
Sinclair told talkSPORT: “[Tomas] Soucek and Rice keep McTominay out of the West Ham side, whereas Rice walks into the Manchester United side.
“If that’s a big fish in a small pond then I don’t quite know what you’re talking about, Simon.
“Rice goes alongside McTominay [at Man United]. For me, he’s better than Fred and when you look at McTominay going into the West Ham side, he’s not going to play in one of the forward midfield positions.”
As it stands, the 10-cap England international has three years left to run on his current deal with his boyhood club, with the option to extend his contract for a further year.
Rice, who is currently valued at £49.5m via Transfermarkt, is said to earn in excess of £60,000-per-week at West Ham and United are one of a select group of clubs who could pay him at least double his salary, with Chelsea also among the interested parties.
Despite Nemanja Matic recently signing a new contract, Solskjaer’s squad still needs the right investment to take them to the next level. Namely, a defensive midfielder who has experience playing in a holding midfield role.
In Rice, they could find a player who can do exactly that. At the age of 22, he is only going to improve, and should slot well into Solskjaer’s side having already impressed in the Premier League.
It is difficult to ignore just how important Rice has become for David Moyes’ side, who find themselves sixth in the table in the chase for a top-four finish, thanks in no small part to his performances this season.
WhoScored credits him with 1.9 tackles per 90 in the Premier League, showing how effective he is at breaking up attacks and regaining possession of the ball. Attackers find it incredibly hard to get the better of Rice as his tackle success rate of 65% shows that on the whole he is more successful than not. For context, this is significantly superior to Matic’s success rate of 58%, suggesting that signing Rice would be an immediate upgrade on the veteran midfielder.
It’s no surprise that fans, players and pundits alike have been singing his praises, with former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard previously heaping praise on the “fantastic” player for his performances this season thus far.
He said: “He’s a fantastic player for West Ham and England, so fair play because his journey after leaving Chelsea and going to West Ham it is a good story to hear. There are lots of those stories for different reasons at whatever level and that shows a strength of character.”
That sort of inner strength would be most welcome at Old Trafford and to be able to nab a player of his calibre to replace the ageing Matic could turn out be a shrewd investment in the future.
AND in other news, Ed Woodward must tie down Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes to new deal…