Declan Rice: Manchester United and Chelsea target profiled
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Manchester United director of football John Murtough could include Jesse Lingard in a part-exchange bid to sign West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice, according to reports. The Red Devils are believed to be keen admirers of the 21-year-old, who has emerged as one of the Premier League’s most coveted assets in recent years.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is believed to be eyeing the addition of a new deep-lying midfielder to bolster his ranks ahead of this month’s transfer deadline.
A number of potential targets have been linked with last season’s Premier League runners-up in recent weeks, including Leon Goretzka of Bayern Munich and Rennes starlet Eduardo Camavinga.
However, Rice is also said to be on United’s radar, with the England international’s immediate future up in the air.
He is under contract at West Ham until the summer of 2024 but has reportedly turned down the offer of a new deal on three separate occasions, suggesting that he could soon be angling for a new challenge.
United have been credited with an interest in Rice for well over a year, but it seems as though Murtough could finally make a late swoop for the Hammers academy graduate’s signature over the coming days.
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The Red Devils chief may be looking to play on West Ham’s interest in Lingard in an attempt to pull off a swap deal that could benefit all parties, according to United We Stand editor Andy Mitten.
“I know that Manchester United like Declan Rice,” Mitten told the Talk of the Red Devils Podcast.
“West Ham want Jesse Lingard. Manchester United want money and Declan Rice. The Sullivans [West Ham’s owners] are not adverse to doing a bit of wheeling and dealing.
“A week ago, I was told don’t bet against someone else coming in at the club. They clearly want someone else to come in but the finances might restrict that.”
Lingard excelled for West Ham while on loan in east London during the second half of last season, scoring nine goals and creating another five in 16 appearances.
He was instrumental in helping David Moyes’ side to seal Europa League qualification and the Scottish boss is understood to be keen on a permanent move for his services.
However, it remains to be seen whether United will be prepared to let the 28-year-old leave in spite of their desire to land Rice.
Solskjaer recently declared that Lingard would be going nowhere this summer, with the United boss insisting that he still has a big role to play at Old Trafford.
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“I think Jesse’s first priority is to get into our team,” said the United boss during pre-season.
“Whenever your employer is Manchester United, that’s your first priority. It always is. We together can have great moments.
“As a manager, with players and a squad like I’ve got now, it’s difficult to say: ‘This weekend you’re not playing’.
“I’ve got to leave players out of the starting XI and squad. They all have to remember they’re going to play a part if we’re gonna be successful.”
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