Man Utd have perfect long-term transfer target who fits Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ‘DNA’

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has often spoken of the Manchester United ‘DNA’ he wants to see in all his players – and the Premier League giants have the perfect long-term target for when the transfer window re-opens. After a summer in which the Red Devils signed Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, United are expected to target a holding midfielder next.

United were linked with several potential additions to their engine room over the summer – including Ruben Neves, Yves Bissouma, Eduardo Camavinga and Saul Niguez.

Camavinga joined Real Madrid while Saul went on to Chelsea, with the Red Devils reportedly opting against the Atletico Madrid man.

But one player’s name remains on many fans’ lips after the transfer window closed this week – that of West Ham midfielder Declan Rice.

And the 22-year-old appears to tick the boxes required to pass Solskjaer’s ‘DNA’ test.

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The United manager has repeatedly said he wants to bring in young, talented players who can grow with the club, realising their own ambitions as they help try to restore the club to its glory days.

Rice is just 22, and as well as having youth on his side he is playing with an ever increasing authority – so much so that he was trusted by Gareth Southgate to be the foundation of England’s midfield alongside Kalvin Phillips during the Three Lions’ run to the Euro 2020 final.

That growing assuredness has come from Rice captaining West Ham’s resurgence under David Moyes, both last season and during their impressive start to the new campaign – and he would bring leadership qualities to Old Trafford despite his young age.

But the concept of “United DNA” requires more than just talent and potential, as Rio Ferdinand explained when the term was gaining popularity after Solskjaer was handed the United manager’s job.

“Players who are fit to play for Manchester United, players who play off the front foot, players who are brave,” said the former United defender after Solskjaer’s appointment in March 2019.


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“There’s a DNA there that should be going through a player who goes to Man United.

“Hunger needs to be brought into that squad. I look at the squads I was in, there were hungry people in there.

“Forget abilities sometimes. Are you hungry enough? Have you got a desire to come in and improve yourself and try to improve this team with respect to what has gone on before you?”

Rice, who scored England’s fourth goal in their 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over Hungary in midweek, is ready to leave West Ham at the end of this season, according to 90min.

That news follows a claim from the Evening Standard that the midfielder has turned down two offers of a new contract at the London Stadium. 

If the reports are to be believed, it seems Rice senses he is destined to step up to one of the Premier League’s elite clubs, having also been on Chelsea’s radar for some time.

That attitude fits with Ferdinand’s desire to see players with a winning mentality, who strive to stretch the limits of their ambitions.

Rice’s ability to play centre-half is another quality marking him out as ideal for United, who would have another quality option alongside Harry Maguire and Varane if they were to meet West Ham’s asking price.

He would also bring other attitrbutes – as former United defender Paul Parker has highlighted.

“The way he plays, the authority he plays with, he nicks balls off people’s toes, he very rarely gets booked,” Parker told the Manchester Evening News back in July.

“Rice can do the job sitting in front and breaking up play. What he can do as well is get forward into the box, he can change the game by opening his legs up and running with the ball.

“I’ve seen him play a lot at West Ham and I’ve seen enough of him to know that he can do the job.”

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