Transfer deadline day: Premier League round-up
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Manchester United have already discussed the finer details of a move for West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice, according to reports. The 22-year-old is said to have been earmarked as a potential replacement for Paul Pogba, who will be out of contract at the end of the season.
The Frenchman has been in talks over a new deal for a number of months but is no closer to extending his stay at Old Trafford.
Paris Saint-Germain have been credited with an interest in landing Pogba on a free transfer if he decides to seek a new challenge next summer.
The 28-year-old’s departure would leave United in need of a top-class alternative in order to maintain their Premier League title-winning ambitions.
Rice, who has reportedly turned down several contract offers at West Ham, is believed to be a priority target for the Red Devils.
He is currently tied down until 2024 but could be sold next summer if the Hammers are unable to agree an extension between now and the end of the campaign.
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It seems as though United have already got the ball rolling with regards to their pursuit of Rice, with club chiefs understood to be drawing up their plan of attack.
The framework of a deal is being discussed behind closed doors at Old Trafford in advance of a formal approach, according to the Manchester Evening News.
The report claims that United have identified Rice as their top target ahead of next summer, with a move said to be ‘probable’ before the start of the following campaign.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was keen to land a new midfielder in time for the current season, but accepted that such a coup would have been unlikely with the club prioritising the additions of a right-winger and a centre-back.
It is claimed that Rice has already spoken about the possibility of joining United with a number of his England team-mates.
The Red Devils are reportedly optimistic that the influence of their Three Lions contingent will give them a welcome advantage in the race to land Rice.
Chelsea have also been linked with the West Ham star in recent months and it remains to be seen whether they will compete with United to secure his services next summer.
Meanwhile, former England defender Paul Parker recently suggested that Rice could be the perfect signing, with the 57-year-old insisting that his all-round game would do wonders for United in the middle of the park.
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“Declan Rice, take the dust off of it, is a box-to-box player,” Parker told Express Sport in July. “You can use that because that’s exactly what it is.
“He’s not just content sitting in there to think he’s doing his job, sideways, square passes and back, dropping into the back four to give it back to a centre-half then run off and just get your stats up.
“He actually wants to make things happen on the edge of the box, and the bonus is that he’s willing to run back and recover as well if things were to break down.
“He’s not already being there waiting and being an extra person at the back. He’s willing to do both.
“So if you’re going to keep it within the shores, you are not going to get anyone better than him in this moment in time.”
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