Manchester United already know two possible Declan Rice transfer alternatives very well

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may follow the signings of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane with a Man Utd midfield addition.


Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips have been the names on everyone's lips for the past few weeks, for obvious reasons.

Whether it has been to laud their unheralded roles in England's glorious run to the Euro 2020 final, or to claim Gareth Southgate must pick more progressive midfielders to end 55 years of hurt, most have voiced their opinion. It says plenty about the West Ham and Leeds players respectively that Rice and Phillips are now household names and no doubt they deserve credit for hauling the Three Lions into uncharted territory this summer.

But when the dust settles and the weekly grind of club football returns, how will Rice and Phillips be assessed?

This is a particular prevalent question in relation to Manchester United and their search for a new defensive midfield signing this summer.

United look to have done the bulk of their work regarding Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane as things stand, albeit the latter isn't a done deal yet, despite confidence it can happen.

That is two of their main priorities to be ticked off before July has even finished. But the swell of opinion from United fans is that a third signing must follow, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer naming three as the magic number when dropping his first transfer hints at the end of last summer.

Speaking following the defeat in the Europa League final on penalties to Villarreal, Solskjaer said: "We need to do better, we need to work better, work harder, cleverer. But as I said two or three players to strengthen the starting XI and the squad all together is important for us to go even further.

"Because I'm sure our contenders or challengers will also want to improve and we want to improve as much as we can."

Defensive midfield simply has to be that third signing if it does arrive, with Rice touted by many as the man to fill such a berth.

The issue, however, despite Rice's rejection of two contract offers at West Ham this summer, is the price tag the Hammers will still put on their main man. Some have suggested only a £100million bid will be enough to prise Rice away from the London Stadium.

Declan Rice is on Manchester United's radar.

If United were considering Rice's England teammate Phillips as a viable alternative, then there are a number of obstacles standing between them and a transfer. Not least Phillips' love for his boyhood club Leeds and, again, the Whites' valuation of their kingpin midfielder.

Elsewhere in the Premier League might provide United with a little more joy, potentially in the shape of two Wolves players who've been thorns in Solskjaer's side in the past.

Ruben Neves has proven to be one of the Premier League's classiest performers in midfield for three seasons now and is still only 24 years old. He is the passing midfield metronome United are currently lacking if Solskjaer keeps faith in Fred and Scott McTominay as his double pivot.

If United want another version of Rice, Leander Denoncker is the ideal destroyer between the lines, who could provide a solid platform for the likes of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes to thrive.

United could probably buy both Wolves' men for a price cheaper than West Ham's asking price for Rice. Neves would surely cost no more than £60million and any purchase could be offset by some United player sales of their own.

There will be some discontent from transfer-hungry United fans if they finish this summer with just two signings. Three wouldn't be a crowd at the Old Trafford arrivals gate this summer, but with money already committed to other players and positions, it's time to think smart.

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