West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is thought to be interested in joining Manchester United and even asked some of his England colleagues about the club during last month’s international break.
Central midfield is rising up United’s list of summer transfer priorities and the club has rekindled previous interest in Rice in recent months. The 22-year-old has been crucial to West Ham’s surge into Champions League contention and is one of the Premier League’s top DMs.
90min recently revealed that United are hugely impressed by what they see as Rice’s significant progression and development this season. But that admiration also appears to be reciprocated and the Manchester Evening News now reports that he has spoken to existing United players about it.
Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Dean Henderson were all named in the England squad with Rice for last month’s internationals. Rashford withdrew injured after only the first game, but it is though that Rice spoke specifically to Maguire and Shaw about life at Old Trafford.
The point is made that United have previously talked up the popularity of their players – notably Rashford and Lingard – in the England squad and have often made approaches for England players in the past after major international tournaments. Rice will be a starter at the delayed Euro 2020.
90min understands there is a chance that West Ham could lower their valuation of Rice to £50m because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. But the Hammers will delay a decision on whether they are willing to sell until the end of the season to see if they do make it into the top four.
Playing in the Champions League next season would see the Hammers hold onto their best players and best financially boosted by the lucrative revenue that the competition brings.
It helps from United’s perspective that Old Trafford officials have already been in touch with Hammers counterparts in recent months over the future of on-loan Jesse Lingard.
A re-born Lingard could be offered in part-exchange for Rice, while the names of Nemanja Matic and Phil Jones have also been mentioned in conversations between the clubs.
United are also eyeing an opportunistic approach for Wolves star Ruben Neves, who could be the perfect partner for Rice in central midfield. Wolves are looking to sell a handful of their top players this summer and would accept an offer for Neves that meets their valuation in excess of £30m.