Rangnick confirms Man Utd future amid Austria links
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Manchester United reportedly have a clear run at signing Declan Rice this summer with Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea all set to prioritise other positions. West Ham are sure to play hardball regarding their prized asset, but manager David Moyes recently hinted at a chink in the armour by admitting that ‘football moves on’.
The Hammers’ stance on Rice has been airtight thus far, with the star having played a key role in their relative success this campaign. Although an unlikely bid for the top four is set to fall short, Moyes and co are still in with a shot of Europa League glory.
Rice is valued at a whopping £150million, and on occasions Moyes has gone as far as to say that the 23-year-old is simply not for sale. But recounting his previous experience with Everton may suggest that he is preparing for the worst. “I thought Wayne [Rooney] was irreplaceable [for the Toffees], but what happens in football is you move on,” he said.
Now, ESPN claim that United will have a ‘free run’ at signing Rice this summer. The midfielder would still command a hefty transfer fee, but the Red Devils may decide to pounce given the expected absence of competition.
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City are poised to prioritise signing a striker, with a hotly-anticipated deal for Erling Haaland set to take up a fair chunk of cash. Chelsea, meanwhile, are battling ownership uncertainty while Liverpool are believed to be looking towards rejuvenating an ageing midfield.
United have reason to go after a player of Rice’s position and calibre, with Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic both due to leave for free this summer. The Red Devils’ pulling power will be tested, however, with a toxic atmosphere around Old Trafford after a troubled season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.
While United won’t be in next season’s Champions League, West Ham might be if they beat Eintracht Frankfurt and go on to lift the Europa League. One thing the Hammers can’t compete with, however, is wages, and Rice could quadruple his pay packet if courted by a top side.
Incoming United boss Erik ten Hag is set to be given £120m to play with this summer, so it remains to be seen if he would be keen to blow all of it on Rice. Having spent several months at the helm assessing the squad, interim boss Rangnick would appear to favour a summer of sweeping changes throughout the squad.
Jurrien Timber, Tyrell Malacia and Antony have all been touted as potential signings from the Eredivisie. Those kind of arrivals would be considerably cheaper than a blockbuster deal for Rice, but may not have the same impact.
The Red Devils are believed to hold a long-term interest in Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who could be sounded out as a cheaper Rice alternative. But the Serb’s agent, Mateja Kezman, has publicly denied reports that his client favours a move to Old Trafford this summer.
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