Manchester United may have to stave off competition from Manchester City in order to sign West Ham star Declan Rice.
The England international, who has had a £150million price tag slapped on his shoulders by Hammers boss David Moyes, has been earmarked as a replacement for outgoing Citizens midfielder Fernandinho.
The Brazilian will leave the Etihad in the summer and the Mail are reporting that Pep Guardiola is ready to challenge Erik ten Hag in the pursuit of Rice.
Despite Fernandinho ending his nine-year stay in Manchester and leaving a void in City’s talented squad, United’s need for Rice is far greater given the club’s ever-growing malaise.
And with Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic set to leave the club as free agents at the end of June, United’s midfield needs major surgery.
With Champions League qualification looking nigh on impossible for the Red Devils, United’s fierce rivals could be the more appealing option for Rice.
However, given West Ham’s desire to keep hold of Rice and cash in on the 23-year-old in 12 months time, according to The Athletic, United could well be in a better place to compete for his signature following a season under Ten Hag.
But ever since the Abu Dhabi United Group took over at Manchester City in September 2008, Manchester United have notably come out on top of some key transfer battles.
Here we take a look at six players that United signed despite City’s interest…
Despite winning the Champions League and Premier League double and possessing a forward line of Carlos Tevez, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, Sir Alex Ferguson wanted the Bulgarian superstar ahead of the 2008/09 season.
In his first two seasons of English football at Tottenham, Berbatov had scored 46 goals and provided 24 assists from 102 matches.
Ferguson wanted the striker to add even more firepower to a deadly United forward line.
Manchester United made their move and signed Berbatov on deadline day in September 2008 for £30.75m, but City made a late play trying to hijack the deal.
Berbatov didn’t have his head turned and he went on to score 56 goals and provide 27 assists from 149 games for the Reds. He won eight trophies during his four years at Old Trafford.
The 41-year-old was the Premier League’s top scorer in the 2010/11 campaign with 20 goals. That was the season where Berbatov scored a hat-trick against Liverpool and he netted five goals in one game against Blackburn Rovers.
Robin van Persie
Fuming from how Manchester City had snatched the Premier League trophy from his grasp, Sir Alex responded by luring Van Persie to Old Trafford much to Arsene Wenger’s dismay.
The Dutchman only spent one season playing under the legendary Scotsman before Ferguson’s shock retirement, but his signing proved to be the catalyst in United regaining their crown.
Van Persie featured in every Premier League match during the 2012/13 campaign and was the top-flight’s leading scorer with 26 goals.
United’s number 20 sealed the club’s twentieth league title with a hat-trick against Aston Villa at Old Trafford, which included a memorable volley following Wayne Rooney’s quarterback lofted pass.
City tried to sign Arsenal’s prized asset, but the talented left-footer opted to come to the Theatre of Dreams.
While Berbatov and Van Persie were huge successes at Old Trafford, Sanchez’s best performance came via the piano upon announcing his arrival at the club.
United signed the Chilean from Arsenal, in a swap deal with midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan in January 2018.
Pep Guardiola, who managed Sanchez during their time together at Barcelona, was interested in bringing the number seven to City but United’s noisy neighbours ended their interest as they felt making him their best-paid player may affect team spirit.
It was a smart move by City as United got a player who was on a downward trajectory and had already had his peak years.
It proved to be a massive mistake by United and after a loan spell with Inter Milan, United’s former number seven signed for the Italian giants on a free transfer and finished his Manchester United career with five goals from 45 games.
Manchester City were credited with an interest in signing Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk in January 2018, according to Sky Sports.
The Brazilian was allegedly seen as a long-term replacement for his compatriot Fernandinho, but a move to the Etihad never came to fruition.
Six months after City’s interest was reported on, Fred was signed for Manchester United by Jose Mourinho.
United’s number 17 has often been a scapegoat and easy target for criticism and blame when United have struggled, but he’ll be hoping to have a big role to play under Ten Hag.
Guardiola revealed in the build-up to Maguire’s world-record £80million move to Manchester United that he wanted to sign the centre-back in the summer of 2019.
But the Spaniard claimed that City couldn’t afford to pay Leicester’s asking price and therefore United had a clear run at signing the England international.
Maguire has endured a torrid campaign following an impressive European Championship with England.
The Manchester United captain looks out of sorts and possibly even out of his depth. He faces an anxious wait to see where he fits in with Ten Hag’s plans for the club.
City didn’t sign Maguire but they did snap up Ruben Dias the following summer which has turned out to be a very good piece of business.
After abandoning their pursuit of Harry Kane, Manchester City identified United’s legendary former number seven at the time to be their main man.
With talks of an unthinkable move to City intensifying, the Red Devils acted swiftly to bring Ronaldo back to Old Trafford.
From Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s press conference comments to Rio Ferdinand’s cryptic tweet, United fans began to believe that a U-turn had been performed and the great Portuguese was coming home.
Then it was confirmed, Cristiano Ronaldo would become a Manchester United player for the second time in his career.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is unsurprisingly United’s top scorer with 22 goals this campaign, but he wouldn’t have envisaged United having nothing to play for and sitting sixth in the table with four games remaining.