Manchester United Enters Fray for Declan Rice’s Signature, Threatens Arsenal’s Bid
The Battle for Declan Rice
Manchester United have set their sights on West Ham’s Declan Rice, adding a new dimension to the chase that has primarily been led by Arsenal. David Moyes, the West Ham manager, has conceded that it’s probable Rice will be on the move soon, further heating up the race. While Arsenal is still seen as the prime contender for the midfielder’s services, the entry of Manchester United can potentially shift the dynamics.
Arsenal’s Interest and Manchester United’s Emergence
Arsenal have been the frontrunners in the quest to sign Rice, with manager Mikel Arteta already laying the foundations for a potential bid. The 24-year-old midfielder has expressed his interest in joining Arteta’s project at Arsenal. However, a potential bidding war could complicate Arsenal’s pursuit. West Ham’s hefty £100m price tag for their captain could discourage the Gunners. There are increasing signs that Manchester United, despite being more stealth in their approach, might be preparing to intensify their interest.
There are no assurances, though, that United will go all out for Rice. Erik ten Hag, the United manager, is keen on recruiting a top striker, with Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur being the prime target. Prising the England captain from Tottenham is no small feat, both logistically and financially.
Besides their pursuit of a striker, United is also looking to bolster their midfield. They have shown interest in Chelsea’s Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic, but Declan Rice’s acquisition would be a more costly affair. United may need to offload some players to make room for Rice, yet their interest in the Englishman seems to be on an upward trajectory.
West Ham’s Dilemma
West Ham is determined to hold onto Rice for another season, but they recognise it’s an uphill struggle. Rice’s contract runs out next year with an additional year’s option, and he has no plans to extend it. His ambitions are clear – he wishes to compete in the Champions League and for major trophies.
The best-case scenario for West Ham, who are nearing Premier League safety, could be Rice aiding them in their quest for the Europa Conference League. They are currently leading 2-1 against AZ Alkmaar before the semi-final’s second leg in the Netherlands. A win in the Conference League would earn them a spot in the Europa League and give Rice a high note to leave on.
A Resigned Moyes
Moyes seems resigned to the possibility of Rice’s departure, stating, “We honestly hope he stays. We’d love for him to be a West Ham player but we are aware that might not be the case at the end of the season. So that’s one of the scenarios around planning. There are plans that we have Dec here but we’re also fully aware there is a good chance we won’t have him.”
Other clubs, including Chelsea and Newcastle, have been keeping tabs on Rice but are unlikely to make a move. The fate of Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham, another coveted youngster, is also being closely watched by West Ham. The summer transfer window promises to be a hotbed of action, with the fate of Declan Rice set to be one of the main storylines.