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21st Jun 2023

Man United’s trump card for Declan Rice swoop just got more attractive

Patrick McCarry

Declan Rice

Many United fans would be happy to co-sign this deal.

While Erik ten Hag is reportedly unhappy that the potential sale of Manchester United is holding up transfer business, the club are working away in the background to lock down some key targets. Declan Rice is one of them.

The Dutchman guided United to a League Cup win, an FA Cup final appearance and a third place league finish in his first year at the helm. It was by no means an all-out success but ten Hag earned a lot of credit for dealing with a petulant Cristiano Ronaldo and righting a ship that was leaking regular goals in the opening weeks of the season.

Ten Hag brought in a few stop-gap solutions, in Marcel Sabitzer, Jack Butland and Wout Weghorst, all on loan, to get his team over the finish line but all will be moving on. Butland has already joined up with Rangers but Weghorst could face United in a Burnley jersey, next season.

United appear to be looking for a cheaper goalscoring alternative to Harry Kane, as Tottenham have set a high price and dug their heels in. There is activity with regards to Mason Mount, with a second, improved bid going in to Chelsea for the midfielder.

With Fred a target for Fulham and Sabitzer back with Bayern Munich, United are light in the midfield department and the club are hopeful that they could still snag Declan Rice. They have a trump card, in terms of a player swap, and that option just got more attractive.

Declan RiceDeclan Rice of West Ham United celebrates with the Europa Conference League trophy. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

Man United eyeing cash-plus-player Declan Rice deal

It looked, for the past month, that Declan Rice would be heading to Arsenal. That may still prove the case, with Bayern Munich not having any piece of West Ham’s £100m valuation of the midfielder, but Arsenal are in haggling mode.

The Gunners are willing to go as high as £85m and may include add-ons to the deal, spread out over the next couple of seasons. To that end, the door has not closed for other suitors.

Manchester United have been interested in Rice for over years, at this stage, and he is a player that Roy Keane urged them to get, along with Jack Grealish, during separate punditry stints for Sky Sports and ITV. More recently, he said United should make it a priority to sign Rice and Harry Kane this summer.

Sky Sports has reported that United believe they could yet get a Declan Rice deal done by offering around £60m up-front, along with one of two players. Harry Maguire is one option, but the Hammers would be stretched to come even close to covering his wages. Maguire would have to leave United and take a reduced deal with the Hammers.

The trump card, United will feel, is Scott McTominay. West Ham would be replacing one fiery, combative and hard-running midfielder with another. What makes the deal more attractive is the international form of McTominay – he scored his fifth goal of Scotland’s Euro 2024 qualifying campaign against Georgia, on Tuesday night.

The 26-year-old made his United debut in 2017 and has made 209 appearances for the Red Devils, since then. He appears destined to be a squad player for Erik ten Hag if he remains at United and may relish a regular role in London.


Read next: Summer transfer window 2023: Follow the latest updates live in our hub.

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