Football’s most uninspiring and annoying transfer rumour popped up again over the weekend.
Goal report United want to pay £80 million for West Ham’s Declan Rice. He is said to be a priority as the club look for a long-term replacement for Nemanja Matic.
It’s easy to dispute the source, which also claims Mario Mandzukic and Kalidou Koulibaly are top targets. Other outlets claim United are more interested in players like Moussa Dembele, Erling Haaland and Timo Werner. In early November there are no facts, it’s just a matter of who you choose to believe.
So what do we believe with Declan Rice? Well, he fits United’s strategy of signing talented young English players. But this would also be a bad move.
Here is a breakdown of why a £80 million spend on Rice would be a bad move…
Waste of resources
Rice is a defensive midfielder. Conceding goals has not been United’s problem this season. Scoring them has.
United have scored 13 goals in 11 Premier League games, and it is clear that more attackers are needed. Strikers, creative midfielders, wingers.
£80 million on a defensive midfielder would be a waste of resources financially.
United’s net spend this season was just £74 million. When serious investment is needed in the attack, the club just can’t go round overpaying for a defensive midfielder.
Nemanja Matic will need replacing, but United must prioritise accordingly.
Buy James Maddison for £80 million instead and solve the creativity issue.
Rice is a talented player, and West Ham might value him at £80 million, but that does not mean he is actually worth that amount.
He is only 20-years-old, but £80 million is a huge amount to pay for potential.
That sort of price tag could weigh on him at such a crucial developmental stage of his career, and ultimately ruin him.
At present, Rice is not the game changer United need. He may have shut our poor attack out, but West Ham’s defence has been exposed this season.
They shipped five against Manchester City and three against Newcastle. The Hammers have not kept a clean sheet for five league games in a row.
At £80 million, is he a substantial upgrade on what United already have? We are not convinced.
For the aforementioned reasons of price and prioritising elsewhere, United must look at a cheaper defensive midfielder.
Ed Woodward boasts United have hundreds of scouts who scour Europe for talent.
Is Rice seriously the number one option, bearing in mind talent and price?
Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare is reported by ESPN to be a possibility.
There should be a dozen more names being put forward by United’s scouts as options to replace Matic.
United’s summer business was good for what it was, but United also faced criticism for being too insular, not looking outside of the British market for players. Signing Rice would continue this, and show a lack of imagination.
If the club choose to push ahead with paying over market value to sign Rice, it will represent a scouting failure.
United can do better than Rice and for a far more moderate price.
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