DECLAN RICE is one of Manchester United's top transfer targets and could cost the Red Devils £100million.
The 22-year-old could be worth every penny though as he would fit perfectly into Ralf Rangnick's 4-2-2-2 system.
Rice would almost certainly oust Fred from the starting line-up and form a formidable partnership with Scott McTominay.
The England international's superior defensive stats could provide adequate cover for United's centre-back pairing of Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane.
In 19 Premier league appearances this season, Rice has completed 44 tackles, 35 interceptions, recovered the ball a whopping 152 times and won 104 duels.
But Rice is more than just a 'defensive midfielder'.
Rice's ball retention, driving runs and pin-point passing have caught the eye and could aid United's talented front four.
The Hammers captain has also improved his goal contributions.
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He has managed to net three goals and provide four assists across all competitions this term.
United legend Roy Keane is a big fan of Rice and even claimed the West Ham man was better than him when he was 22.
Keane said: "I look to where I was when I was 22. I think he’s way ahead of me when I was 22.
“I think the next step will come when he’s playing at a higher level, Champions League, competing for trophies.
“He’s obviously a regular for England. There’s a lot more to come from him.”
Rice has also found his way into Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher's teams of the season so far.
United legend Neville said Rodri and Rice have been the 'two best central midfielders' this season.
Rice could also add some much needed leadership and responsibility to United's midfield, something England manager Gareth Southgate has hailed.
Rice played a key role in England's run to the Euro 2020 final, and was arguably the Three Lions' best player on the day.
On Rice, Southgate said: "The interesting thing for me is that I spoke to Declan when he was making the transfer [in international allegiance] from Ireland [in February 2019] and we had seen things in him which we believed could be helpful to us as a country.
“You could tell his mentality was one where he wanted to learn and improve and test himself.
“He is a real sponge for tactical information and observations on his game and is desperate to be the best he can possibly be.
“Even though he is a young player, he has got tremendous leadership qualities. He is captaining his club at an incredibly young age.
"So you can see all the signs of what might be possible.
“There are the experiences he has been through now. But also he is getting older and more mature and broader with his outlook on everything — and because of his mentality he is going to improve even more.”
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