Manchester United have doubts over signing Declan Rice

ESPN have offered an update on Manchester United’s pursuit of long-term target Declan Rice.

They report that there are contrasting opinions on the England international among senior figures at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is apparently a huge fan of the midfielder but others have doubts.

Specifically, some whether whether Rice is quick enough, both with and without the ball.

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There are also apparently concerns over how well he would compliment Scott McTominay.

Some apparently think he could merely replicate what the Scotland international brings to the table.

The concerns also surround West Ham’s valuation of Rice, which is thought to be around £90 million.

For that money, everyone from a recruitment perspective should be in total agreement.

Because they currently aren’t, United are apparently looking at cheaper alternatives playing abroad who could anchor the midfield.

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Are United’s concerns justified?

There are a few factors to unpick here. Rice is a fantastic young midfielder, with huge Premier League experience. He could well be an England international for the next ten years and he would be a huge upgrade on Fred.

With him alongside McTominay, United would have a towering, physical midfield duo, both capable of playing disciplined roles or bombing on defending on the demands of the game.

But the price is a major factor. We have written for a while that it might be worth United looking at more affordable holding midfield options.

Another thing to consider is Rice apparently wants to change his game so he’s more like Yaya Toure, moving forward out of midfield.

What United need is a disciplined anchorman, although it is hard to understand concerns he’s not quick enough. Rice is a great athlete, and will only improve as he matures.

It will be interesting to see if alternative midfield targets emerge over the coming weeks and months, and how they compare to Rice in terms of their attributes and affordability.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.