The Manchester United manager has locked his sights on signing West Ham youngster Declan Rice and has told his Old Trafford bosses to overcome Chelsea to his signature, according to reports.
The 19-year-old has emerged as a first-team regular under new boss Manuel Pellegrini at the Hammers, lining up in a central midfield role even though he came through the academy as a ball-playing centre-back. And, according to the Daily Star, Manchester United and Jose Mourinho has love what he has seen in Rice’s performances and especially loves the fact that the youngster is so versatile.
The Portuguese coach made it apparent in no less terms over the summer that he wanted to sign a new centre-back, and now he also also wants more cover and competition in midfield. Summer signing Fred has so far been a disappointment, while Nemanja Matic is struggling to replicate his performances from Chelsea, and it seems Rice would tick both boxes in midfield and defence.
The London-born player’s meteoric rise means that he is still earning a paltry £3,000-a-week at West Ham, and club bosses are fearful that he could leave for nothing when his contract expires in 2020. That means they might look to cash in before any such event, although United will face huge competition from Chelsea for his signature, with the Blues intent on re-signing a player who they had released at the age of 14.
The west Londoners are prepared to offer Rice a deal worth £40,000-a-week as Maurizio Sarri targets a strengthening of his engine room. Manchester United, meanwhile, are believed to be hesitant to make a foray into the transfer market when the window reopens thanks to doubts regarding Mourinho’s future and the lack of success his previous signings have had.
Declan Rice has been marked out for a bright future by many, but before signing him, the Manchester United bosses have to be sure that Mourinho — who’s future itself should be first priority — is in a position to get the best out of new signings because recent examples have shown that eh Portugese manager has failed to do so, nor has he been able to inspire the existing bunch as well.