On and off over the past 12 months, Manchester United have been linked with a move for West Ham’s Declan Rice.

Goal reported last November, pre-pandemic of course, that United would consider a move for Rice, who West Ham value at £80 million.

There is a real need to sign a defensive midfielder as long-term replacement for Nemanja Matic, who has been excellent lately, yet is only able to start one game per week at the age of 31.

Rice, 21, is a viable option as a successor, and as we noted back in March, don’t rule this one out if West Ham go down.

Last night he was doing his best to help his team avoid relegation, as West Ham took on Chelsea in an entertaining game at the London Stadium, and impressively and helpfully for us, they got the win.

(Photo by James Griffiths/West Ham United FC via Getty Images)

Rice is a player who can divide opinion. Like most 21-years-olds, he has good games, and bad games, and it is not easy to find consistency playing for one of the weakest sides in the league.

Most would agree though that he has high potential, and is the sort of talent United could develop, if West Ham made their asking price a lot more reasonable.

 

Half the quoted asking price, a fee of £40 million, would be much more reasonable, and viable if West Ham are relegated. Currently they sit in 16th place, three points above the drop zone with six matches remaining, including a visit to Old Trafford.

Last night against Chelsea was one of his better performances. He made five tackles, three clearances, completed 90 per cent of his passes, and also created one chance as he set up a quick break.

The only downside was giving away a free-kick which led to Chelsea’s equalising second goal. He dived in when he didn’t need to. This over-eagerness is something he can learn from.

His side still did enough to earn an important 3-2 win, which also helped United as it ensured Chelsea’s advantage over us is just two points.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Reaction

United fans have not always been taken with Rice, but last night saw enough upside to his game to begin to come around.

There will be other options in defensive midfield, cheaper ones too, but he certainly presents one route United could take.

Here is a look at how supporters reacted to his performance…

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