Former Premier League striker Noel Whelan has tipped Manchester United to sign West Ham midfielder Declan Rice in January.
Rice is one of the most promising young talents England have to offer, and started Saturday’s qualifier against Bulgaria at Wembley.
The 20-year-old is now West Ham’s prized asset after some excellent performances in midfield under Manuel Pellegrini last season, and has been tipped to make a move to a bigger club in the near future.
“West Ham have got a really special player on their hands,” Whelan told Football Insider.
“They will struggled to hold on to him, because the big clubs will be hot on his trail.
“I think Declan Rice could be the next player who goes for a Premier League record fee. We have just seen Harry Maguire go for £80million and I wouldn’t be surprised if Rice goes for more than that, above £90million, even.
“He’s young, English, hugely talented and is such a long way from his peak. You look at a team like Man United, who need a midfield anchorman and you can see it happening.
“They don’t mind paying over the odds for a player, as we saw in the summer. I could see them looking to get Rice in January.”
The Reds desperately need to strengthen in defensive midfield and Rice is exactly the type of player Solskjaer should be looking at.
Nemanja Matic is ageing and can no longer consistently perform in the role, and Scott McTominay shouldn’t be consistently relied upon given he is still developing and has limited talents.
Rice is already one of the most astute defensive midfielders in the Premier League, and is brilliant at breaking up play before starting quickly starting attacks.
He also fits the recruitment mould at Old Trafford of young, British talent, that could grow into a fantastic player in the coming years.
The difficulty is being able to get a deal for the youngster over the line. While it may be easier to negotiate a transfer next summer if Rice was keen on the move, he would cost an astronomical fee and the £90m quoted by Whelan is excessive, even in today’s inflated market.