Man Utd dealt Declan Rice transfer blow ahead of Erik ten Hag arrival

Ralf Rangnick feels win over Brentford was among best Man Utd displays under him

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Manchester United have been dealt a huge transfer blow before Erik ten Hag even arrives as their new manager, with Declan Rice reportedly set to stay at West Ham. Rice had been one of the Red Devils’ top targets as they prepare to overhaul their options in midfield.

But their hopes of landing the England international appear to have been dashed, with the Daily Mail reporting he will stay at the London Stadium for at least ‘another year’. It is stated that Rice is expected to ‘reject’ interest from bigger clubs to become the Hammers’ club captain.

Despite the interest from the likes of United, Chelsea and Manchester City, Rice has given ‘no reason’ for West Ham to believe he will demand a departure this summer. In further evidence of their belief that he will stay, the midfielder will even be named as the club’s new captain when Mark Noble retires at the end of the season.

It is said that Rice could even sign a new contract, though the 23-year-old has already rejected an offer to make him the highest-paid player in the club’s history. Even so, West Ham are described as being ‘comfortable’ with how matters are progressing.

The Hammers have some breathing space over Rice’s future, with his current contract not expiring until 2024 and the club having an option to extend that by a further year. The Premier League side are ‘wary’ of allowing a key player such as Rice to depart, given their success under David Moyes over the past two seasons.

Moyes’ men are once again fighting for European qualification, though the top four now looks to be out of reach. They could still reach the Champions League if they win the Europa League, though will need to overturn a 2-1 deficit in their semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt.

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But if they are able to mount that comeback and go onto win that competition, they will earn a place in next year’s Champions League. Rice has previously described playing in that tournament as being an ‘urgent’ ambition of his.

And if they can qualify, it would give West Ham another edge over United, who are also set to miss out on a top four spot. Ten Hag has much work to do when he finally takes over in the summer and missing out on Rice will represent a big blow to his plans.

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