Paul Ince believes Manchester United missed a trick this summer by not signing Declan Rice.
A transfer window that saw Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho, Tom Heaton and Cristiano Ronaldo all arrive to bolster Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad, many believed that a holding midfielder was still missing.
Linked with a host of players from Eduardo Camavinga, who joined Real Madrid, to Saul Niguez, who signed for Chelsea on loan, Rice’s name cropped up numerous times but West Ham slapped a £100million price tag on his head to ward off any potential suitors.
With two years left on his deal next summer however, the Manchester Evening News understands United figures have already discussed the potential framework for a deal to sign the 22-year-old.
United will get another first-hand look at Rice when they make the trip down to London on Sunday afternoon and Ince, who played for both clubs during his playing days, believes United should have completed a deal in the summer.
“ Declan Rice I thought was outstanding in the Euros,” Ince told the United Stand. “He looks like he’s stepped up a gear, gone up another gear this year. He’s been brilliant in midfield.
“There were rumours we were going to try and sign him at Manchester United and he’d have been perfect.
“I’ve always stated that, and Sir Alex Ferguson has always said that, if you win the midfield battle, nine times out of ten you’re going to win the game because you control it and get more of the ball.
“It’s going to be an aggressive game in there, it’s not going to be a passing game. [Tomas] Soucek is 6 ft 4 in and he likes to put a foot in, so does Declan Rice.
“They’ve got plenty of legs and we’re going to have to match them.”
In the opposite dugout to Solskjaer this weekend will be David Moyes, the man who replaced Sir Alex Ferguson as United manager in 2013.
Moyes failed to last the season before being sacked. But has rebuilt his reputation with West Ham, firing them to a Europa League finish last season.
“David Moyes didn’t get long enough at all [at Manchester United] and what he’s showing is what a very good manager that he is. He’s got West Ham up and playing.
“They play a different style and you know what you’re going to get with West Ham. They defend deep, they get back in their shape and they play from there.
“With [Michail] Antonio not playing, it might dilute them a bit as far as that’s concerned.”
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