In the final days of the transfer window, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was more concerned about completing a deal for Declan Rice than sealing the return of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Despite making several high-profile additions this summer, Solskjaer believes that his side lacks balance and remains desperate to bring in someone to shield the defence.
He hoped to strike a deal for Rice but the Red Devils were put off by a £100million price tag, having already spent heavily to secure other targets.
Although Rice doesn’t carry quite the same marketing clout as Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Ronaldo, he would address a clear weakness in Solskjaer’s team.
The West Ham United man is busy, committed and industrious, consistently breaking up attacks with his positional awareness and reading of the game.
His lack of European experience is a concern but he would be a clear upgrade on Scott McTominay, Fred and an ageing Nemanja Matic.
Rice is seen as the perfect option to partner Paul Pogba, doing the dirty work that would allow the talented Frenchman to flourish.
Solskjaer was frustrated at the failure to acquire the 22-year-old and has already made him Man United’ top priority ahead of next season.
After making his debut away to Burnley in May 2017, Rice quickly became a mainstay and the heartbeat of the Hammers’ midfield.
He has made 150 appearances in all competitions at club level and broke into the England squad two years ago, having previously represented the Republic of Ireland.
Rice impressed at Euro 2020, striking up a good understanding with Kalvin Phillips as Gareth Southgate's side reached the final, before losing to Italy on penalties.
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