Man Utd: Solskjaer promises better communication from board
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Manchester United could be set to end their interest in West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice as club chiefs believe the 22-year-old is too slow and too expensive, according to reports. Rice has established himself as one of the Premier League’s finest holding players in recent seasons thanks to his formidable performances in the middle of the park.
The former Chelsea academy prospect has played 29 top-flight matches this season, helping the Hammers to mount an unlikely top-four charge in the process.
He remains under contract until the summer of 2024, but his future has been uncertain for some time with some of the division’s biggest clubs said to be keen admirers.
United have regularly been mentioned in connection with Rice since last summer, while Chelsea were also said to be keen on signing their former player during Frank Lampard’s tenure.
The Red Devils are facing the possibility of losing Paul Pogba, who is yet to extend his current deal, this summer and Rice could well be the perfect replacement for the Frenchman if he decides to seek a new challenge in the near future.
However, it seems as though the 20-time Premier League champions have abandoned their pursuit of the West Ham skipper in favour of their other targets.
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United believe that Rice is too slow to flourish in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s midfield, while West Ham’s reported £100million asking price exceeds their valuation of the player by at least £20m, according to Claret and Hugh.
The report claims that the Red Devils have been keeping a close eye on Rice’s development for the last few years, but have since identified three other midfield targets that would provide better value for money.
United are said to be hunting a ‘dynamic’ player to bolster their ranks ahead of next season, and their belief that the Hammers man lacks pace has seen him tumble down the order on the club’s transfer shortlist.
Solskjaer is still believed to be a fan of Rice, but the reservations of his scouts appear to have poured cold water on the possibility of a move this summer.
West Ham boss David Moyes recently suggested that the midfielder is worth even more than his £100m price tag, underlining the east London club’s aim to keep hold of their man for the foreseeable future.
“I don’t agree with the owners that Declan Rice is a £100million footballer,” Moyes told reporters in March.
“Far, far more than £100m. Far, far more. I look at the players who have joined some clubs from overseas and come in and had nowhere near the impact Declan Rice would have done.
“I wouldn’t agree with the owners if Declan Rice was only £100m. No, I wouldn’t. I have watched the prices of some players who have gone to clubs and they could not lace Declan Rice’s boots.
“I certainly wouldn’t put a price on it. The owners think he’s worth £100million [but] I completely disagree with that.
“You can decide which figure you want to put on it, but I wouldn’t be sanctioning anything like that, that’s for sure.
“I think every player will have a price in football, whoever you name. Even [Lionel] Messi has a price. At the moment, we have had no contact for Declan and I am not in a hurry to lose him as you can imagine.
“Declan seems very settled and in fact he is captaining West Ham, plays for England and I want to keep Declan thinking that his ambitions can be achieved here at West Ham.”
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