Manchester United still keen on Declan Rice

It is fair to say that both West Ham United and Manchester United were hoping for a better start to the 2019/20 Premier League season.

Many Manchester United were optimistic that their club would be challenging for the top four but currently they find themselves adrift of the Champions League places having failed to perform anywhere near the standard expected of them.

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West Ham United’s aims for the season were a little more modest than that of United, but at the time of writing they find themselves not too far away from the relegation zone.

The Hammers were just three points clear of the drop zone prior to their game against Chelsea and time appeared to be running out for current manager Manuel Pellegrini.

The strong performance against their London rivals will likely buy Pellegrini some more time to get to a more respectable league position, but another member of the club could soon be on his way, that’s if Manchester United have any say about it.

Declan Rice has been a known target of United for a while now and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer is keen to bring the England midfielder to Old Trafford during the upcoming January transfer window, according to recent press reports.

But joining Manchester United is not as an appealing prospect as it once was. During the glory days with Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm, it was rare for any transfer target to turn their nose up at the chance to join the club. But a lot has changed since then.

Declan Rice, who was recently the target of a car-clamp prank by fellow teammate and club captain Mark Noble, certainly seems happy at West Ham despite a relatively poor start to the season by the Hammers.

West Ham showed good fight to come back from 3-0 down and score two goals in their recent game against Spurs, but their overall performance was poor in this game, like many of their others so far this season.

However, fans of the club will be encouraged by what they saw against Chelsea and will be hoping that the squad can finally kick on and make their way up the table.

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As a holding midfielder, it is difficult for Rice to stand out and have a huge influence on games when players around him are not at their best.

Clearly confidence is low at the London Stadium but Rice has done enough to maintain his place in the England squad. Rice started in the 4-0 away win over Kosovo in the 2020 European Championship qualifiers recently.

It is not easy to step out of a struggling club team to play at international level but Rice grew into the match and made an important block to deny Kosovo a goal in the match.

But for Manchester United, strengthening their midfield is seen as a top priority over the January transfer window.

During their 3-3 draw with Sheffield United, they were overrun in the centre of the pitch and desperately needed a player capable of controlling the play in front of their defence.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had some key men missing from that match including Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic but while the former is an important part of the future of the club the same cannot be said for the latter.

Matic has not been anywhere near his best at Manchester United for some time has also been suffering from injury problems.

That has left McTominay as the only player who is capable of playing well in the deep lying midfield position.

It is clear this area of the team needs improvement and having previously been linked with a move to Old Trafford the rumours are circulating again regarding a transfer bid for Rice.

But whilst some media outlets are predicting Manchester United will make a bid in January, a transfer is more likely to happen in the summer when there is more time to conclude the deal.

It is thought West Ham would demand around £80 million for the player and Manchester United may wish to offload some of their underperforming players before making a move.

It remains to be seen whether Declan Rice would be keen for a move to Old Trafford or if he has his heart set on succeeding at West Ham.

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