Manchester United did not sign a midfielder in the summer transfer window. Seemingly, this will be an area United address next year instead.

Feasibly, United could have signed somebody to fill a need. But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer prefers not to make signings for the sake of it unless the situation is really desperate.

The last two summers Manchester United’s need to sign a winger was glaringly obvious. United shied away from big deals.

Solskjaer’s patience paid off with a deal for Jadon Sancho finally coming to fruition this summer. He got the man he wanted, and this would not have been possible if United had spent £50-60 million on another winger last summer.

England Training Camp - Euro 2020
(Photo by Eddie Keogh – The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

A chance to repeat

The obvious conclusion from Manchester United’s decision not to sign a defensive midfielder like Ruben Neves, Saul Niguez or Yves Bissouma, is that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is saving the role for Declan Rice.

Rice is England’s first choice midfielder and his reputation grew with a strong European Championship.

The problem is that Rice won’t come cheap. West Ham boss David Moyes told Sky Sports earlier this year the midfielder is valued in the £100 million range.

After a successful club season last year, West Ham were never going to sell Rice this summer, and Manchester United’s focus was elsewhere – on a deal for Sancho which really should have been done in 2020.

 

Despite this, Rice is reported to be somewhat reluctant to commit his long-term future to West Ham beyond the contract he signed in 2018.

The Guardian report Rice has turned down two further contract extension offers, with a view to wanting to play Champions League football, having had a test up against the best for England.

Rice’s current deal runs until 2024, with an option of a further year. West Ham are under no pressure to sell.

Next summer though, takes him one year closer to the expiration of his deal, and it will be one more year without Champions League football.

United may be able to tempt him, and if West Ham take a step backwards on their creditable sixth placed finish last season, the prospect of joining Manchester United will look even more attractive. Who would not want to play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo?

Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League
(Photo by Peter Powell – Pool/Getty Images)

The onus of course is on United to make it happen. Rice will cost a substantial fee, possibly the full £100 million.

So if he is really the player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants in midfield, as The MEN report, then United have left the door open for a deal next summer.

A late move for another midfielder would likely have ruled that out. Solskjaer may have shown his hand by deciding to wait.

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