Rio Ferdinand raises Declan Rice concern for Man Utd as West Ham star made ‘top priority’

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Manchester United icon Rio Ferdinand has doubted why England star Declan Rice would join the Red Devils. The midfielder is understood to be a ‘top priority’ for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the United boss seeks to improve his midfield options. 

Rice has been in sensational form for the Hammers this season, with his side on course to qualify for the Champions League.  

A 3-2 victory over Liverpool on Sunday lifted David Moyes’ side up to third in the Premier League heading into the November international break.  

Rice has captained West Ham in most of their matches this season, with club skipper Mark Noble often missing out on the starting XI. 

And the 22-year-old has been outstanding in an all-action midfield role. He has scored four goals for club and country in all competitions this season.  

United were understood to be interested in signing Rice during the summer transfer window. However, West Ham valued their prized asset at around £100million. 

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Hammers boss Moyes insisted that his player could even be worth more. Rice’s performances for England at Euro 2020 went some way to justifying the price tag.  

The Old Trafford outfit spent over £120m on the likes of Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo. There was not enough money for a midfield reinforcement, and certainly not Rice. 

However, Rice remains a ‘top target’ for the 20-times English champions, according to the Independent. 

The Red Devils could spend big in January with Solskjaer’s side currently struggling in the Premier League. Defeat to Manchester City was their third in four games and their fourth already this term. 

But former United and England defender Ferdinand has questioned why Rice would move. West Ham are on course to enter the knockout stage of the Europa League and could mount a challenge for the Champions League if their Premier League form continues.  

“He’s arguably been the best midfielder in the country,” Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five podcast.  

“He has dominated games, he’s played with maturity. 

“The Euros, something’s clicked with him different. His game management, the way he can change the pace of the game at times.

“When I was at West Ham I always felt I could go to the top and there were more levels in me, and I think Declan probably feels the same.

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“But why’s he going to want to leave West Ham right now? They’re third in the league. 

“For anyone to prise him out of West Ham, they’re going to have to pay big money. That’s the problem that anyone’s going to have now. 

“They probably could have got him and pushed the boat out and went £50/60million in the summer.” 

Rice is expected to start for England in this week’s crunch fixtures with Albania and San Marino. 

Gareth Southgate’s side still need a win from at least one of those games to confirm a place at next year’s World Cup in Qatar.  

The former Chelsea academy prospect has played in five of England’s eight World Cup qualifying matches, scoring once.  

His long-distance strike found the bottom corner in the Three Lions’ big 4-0 win over Hungary in September. 
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