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Hefty fee no hindrance as Man Utd firm up plans for England midfielder

Manchester United have decided they will launch a committed approach to sign an England midfielder this summer, according to a report.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is determined to continue the overhaul of his squad during 2021. The Red Devils finished an eye-watering 33 points behind title winners Liverpool last season. Yet they now head into Sunday’s Anfield battle top of the standings and boasting a three-point cushion over Jurgen Klopp’s men.

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January is not expected to be a busy month for United, though they have welcomed £37m winger Amad Diallo.

And while a title-deciding central defender has also been linked, their main business is likely to come in the summer.

Now, according to ESPN, United will make a firm play to sign West Ham star Declan Rice in the summer.

Rice has been heavily linked with a move to a club of Champions League calibre after impressing for West Ham over the past few years.

Chelsea were strongly linked with the 22-year-old over the summer. He continues to be off interest to them and a future move is also expected.

However, if ESPN are proved right, the Blues can now expect fierce competition from United. They state that while they accept Chelsea are favourites, they will do all in their power to lure him to Old Trafford.

Sources are reported to have told ESPN that the Hammers have placed a £70m fee on the England man’s head. However, that is unlikely to deter either side, with United very much keen to add Rice to their midfield options.

The 13-times capped England man is contracted to the London Stadium until 2024.

Rio expects Rice to join Chelsea

Chelsea though have been wondering what might have been with Rice for a number of years now. He previously came through their academy ranks but left for West Ham at the age of 14.

Discussing the player, Ferdinand admits he’s a huge fan of Rice, but concedes a move to Chelsea looks far more likely.

“I don’t think he goes this window, I think he stays there for the remainder of the season. I don’t think he’s the kind of kid who is going to push to leave right now,” Ferdinand told his FIVE YouTube channel.

“If it happens, it will be between the clubs. I don’t think he’s going to be the person that instigates it.

“I think he’s quite a laid-back kid in that sense but he’s a driven kid. He’s someone who wants to achieve, better himself and improve.

“He’s like a sponge, he asks questions when you speak to him: ‘What was it like in your time?’ He reminds me of myself in that respect.

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“He asks questions like, ‘What was he like, training with him?’. He wants to know everything because he wants to better himself. You can’t fault a kid like that.

“Good luck to him. I think it’s inevitable he will go but I think – if I’m being realistic – he will go in the summer. And I think it would be to Chelsea if he had his wish.”

READ MOREThe problem Chelsea face in January move for Declan Rice


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