David Sullivan must block all approaches for Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek this summer, after Keith Gillespie claimed the West Ham duo are perfect for Manchester United.
The Red Devils product has been speaking with This Is Futbol, and suggested the Irons duo would “walk into” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad.
Reports by 90min have linked the Old Trafford natives with a move for Rice this off-season, but the England international is a player of interest for a host of top Premier League sides.
Manchester United have allegedly revived their interest in Rive over recent months, as club chiefs believe the 22-year-old can fill a hole in midfield and provide cover at centre-back.
Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea – who were quoted £80m last year – are also said to be tracking Rice, but Gillespie agrees with talkSPORT pundit Jamie O’Hara in that he can see the West Ham product wearing the red of his former side in the future.
“I’m really impressed. I probably agree, they probably would walk into Man United’s team,” Gillespie said. “That probably shows how badly they need midfielders.
“You’ve got [Nemanja] Matic, who’s coming towards the end. You’ve got Fred, who – for all his hard work and endeavour – gives the ball away too much. You’ve got [Scott] McTominay, who at times looks the part and at times doesn’t.”
Any side wishing to sign Rice this summer faces having to pay £100m, while Soucek is expected to have a list of suitors after proving to be a crucial part of West Ham’s surprise push for a European qualifying berth.
But even at £100m for Rice and however much the Irons demand for Soucek – who has a TransferMarkt valuation of £36m – Sullivan should be blocking all approaches, as the pair are too key to what David Moyes is building at the London Stadium.
The reports of Manchester United’s interest in Rice also claimed that players like Nemanja Matic and Phil Jones had come up in discussions of a part-exchange potentially involving Jesse Lingard, but West Ham would be taking a step back by accepting those terms.
“When you look at say, Liverpool, and you had Fabinho that would play that role for Liverpool and do that really well – sit and let other people go forward. I’d put N’Golo Kante in that bracket, that’s what Declan Rice does for West Ham,” Tony Cascarino told talkSPORT following news he had sustained a lateral knee ligament injury.
“He sits, he picks things, he can see things, the players trust him around him and he does the A,B,C’s of football – the simplistic things that affect a team – really well. He keeps the ball, so it is a huge blow; it is that N’Golo Kante, it’s that Fabinho role that he does brilliantly well. Fine lines, small margins make massive differences.”
Meanwhile Soucek has helped to transform the engine room at the London Stadium by adding a box-to-box machine, capable of offering defensive support and the final touch with a team-high nine goals in 30 Premier League games this term.
“He has been awesome. He has transformed West Ham, he really has. What a player he’s been for them,” O’Hara told talkSPORT last month. “A great signing that went under the radar, but his performances have been absolutely exceptional.
“If you’re Soucek and you’re having the season you are and say Man United come along, because Man United need a player like him, he’d walk into their team with his energy, his runs and scores goals.”
But no matter how much Manchester United need players like Soucek and Rice, Sullivan should put an endless stream of hurdles between them as cashing-in would no doubt break Moyes and the plans he has developed.
AND in other news, West Ham land major boost in race to sign “complete” £11m-rated target for free…