Manchester United target £70m-rated West Ham star - The Verdict

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice

Manchester United are ready to rival Chelsea in the race to snap up West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, according to ESPN.

Having already established himself as a regular England international and the Hammers' matchday captain at the age of just 22, Rice has started to outgrow his surroundings at the London Stadium. 

Tellingly, he's attracting interest from some of the Premier League's top clubs and while Chelsea's interest has been well-documented in recent months, the latest speculation puts Manchester United in the frame to snap up the 13-cap midfielder. 

ESPN claims Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to continue his squad overhaul in the summer with a forward, a centre-back and a defensive midfielder among his priorities - Rice is a candidate for the latter role, although he can also play as a central defender. 

West Ham, however, have set a £70m price-tag on Rice and while there's no obligation for United to pay that specific sum, such as a release clause, it sends a clear message that the Irons will want top dollar for their prized asset. 

So with that in mind, would Rice be a good signing for United, or should the Red Devils give this one a wide berth? GIVEMESPORT writers Kobe Tong, Jack Saville and Christy Malyan give their verdicts on that exact question below...

Kobe Tong

"Yes, on the proviso that he isn't used to plug the gap at centre-back. Rather, Rice should be the long-term solution to United's weakness in defensive midfield.

"Nemanja Matic is only getting more inconsistent with age, Fred's best performances for United have come as a box-to-box midfielder and I'm still not convinced that Scott McTominay, regardless of a recent renaissance, can nail down the position for years to come.

"As a result, I think Rice's age and pedigree in the Premier League make him a logical target for United, albeit one that would come at a typically inflated price because he's English.

"The 22-year-old has featured in all of West Ham's league outings this season as they continue to impress in ninth place, displaying his multifaceted talents with a pass success rate of 87.2% and a tackle return of 1.9 per game."

Jack Saville

"There are tentative signs that the United backline is growing in solidity, with the resurgence of Harry Maguire, the understated consistency of Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw's steady improvement all offering promise for the future. Planting a midfield general of Rice's ilk in front of the back-four will only take the club to a new level.

"With the exception of Fred, Rice has completed more tackles (1.9) per game than any other United midfielder so far this season, while his return of 2.1 interceptions is superior to all of Solskjaer's available options in the centre of the park.

"Add in his expansive range of passing for good measure and Rice looks like the colossal midfield general that United continue to crave."

Christy Malyan

"Why does Solskjaer set up his side in a 4-2-3-1 formation? Because none of his current defensive midfield options - namely Matic, Fred and McTominay - can provide enough balance and control in the engine room single-handed. 

"In Rice though, United may well have identified the ideal player to do so.

"This is an incredibly physical midfielder who also uses the ball exceptionally well, evidenced by an average of 1.1 dribbles per game this season and a pass completion rate of 87%. His distribution should only become more efficient in a team where his role is simpler and he has plenty of talent to deliver the ball to. 

"And that makes Rice something of a tactical game-changer for Solskjaer, allowing him to play another attack-minded midfielder alongside Bruno Fernandes as a fellow No.8.

"The ideal candidate would be Paul Pogba, who's tellingly had to make do with playing out wide in United's last few games and previously as part of the double pivot behind Fernandes.

"But there is well-documented ambiguity over his future right now, so next season could well be Donny van de Beek's chance to shine in that role instead.

"Regardless, Manchester City and Liverpool have both shown in recent years just how big a difference two No.8s can make in the engine room rather than a single No.10, especially against lesser opposition.

"Rice offers United the platform to do just that without leaving them too exposed."

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