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Declan Rice would be best suited to moving to Manchester United if he decides to leave West Ham in the near future, according to Nigel Winterburn. The 22-year-old has been linked with a move away from the club since breaking into the first team two years ago, and Winterburn believes the midfielder is worth every penny of his £90million valuation.
Rice has made giant strides at the club since breaking into the team during David Moyes’ first stint at the club in 2017-18.
He has made over 150 appearances in all competitions for the Hammers and has missed only six matches over the past two seasons.
Rice has taken the captain’s armband with club skipper Mark Noble no longer a prominent member of the first-team and has thrived in the role as the Irons’ leader.
The youngster’s work rate and composure in the middle of park have caught the eye of several Premier League clubs, with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United showing an interest in recent times.
It was understood that Rice was keen to leave the club this summer to boost his chances of winning silverware, but West Ham slapped a £100m asking price above his head.
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Winterburn, who spent the majority of his playing career with Arsenal before heading to West Ham in 2000, thinks that such a hefty price tag is realistic for a player of Rice’s ability.
“£90million is a huge amount of money for Declan Rice – it’s crazy money, but it’s a fair valuation,” Winterburn told Paddy Power.
“Rice has proved himself recently and enhanced his reputation. There’s been a lot of speculation about him moving but it hasn’t fazed him, and he’s just got on with his job.
“West Ham were successful last season, and until yesterday [Saturday’s defeat against Brentford] they’d had a great start to the season.
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“The time will come for him to move on, and I’d be amazed if one of the big clubs in the Premier League is not in for him straight away when they realise he’s available. Potentially even major clubs abroad too.”
Rice was tipped to rejoin Chelsea in 2020, the club that released him as a teenager, when Frank Lampard was in charge but the west London club opted against bringing in the box-to-box midfielder.
Their interest has since cooled while Man United have expressed their desire to bring in a defensive midfielder amid concerns over the form of Fred.
And Winterburn thinks that Man United would be the best fit for Rice given their need for reinforcements in that area, although he has cast doubt over whether the club can afford him.
“It depends on what Declan wants to do but I’d guess he’d want to stay in the Premier League,” he added.
“I’m not sure about Manchester City signing him, but whether Manchester United or Chelsea want to move for him all depends on his availability and if it’s the right time for the club.
“I can see him suiting United because they’ve got an abundance of attacking talent but are often caught wide open defensively. He would be the perfect fit.
“Whether United have got another £90m is another matter.”
Rice publicly addressed his future recently, insisting he is happy to stay at West Ham despite reports suggesting otherwise.
“Everyone knows how I feel about West Ham and how I feel about playing under the manager and what it’s like playing with the group of players I’m playing with,” he told reporters.
“I feel you can see in my performances, nothing’s up, nothing’s concerning me. I’m playing with a smile on my face, I’m going out there, I’m leading the team.
“I think you could see a difference if I wasn’t going out there and giving 100 per cent but every time I’m putting on the shirt – I’ve got the armband on at the moment – my only objective is to go out there and give everything for the club and get three points.”
Man United have invested heavily in British talent in recent years, spending £130m to sign Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire from Crystal Palace and Leicester City in 2019.
But after splashing out £120m on Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho this summer, it may be that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have to wait until 2022 before launching a move.
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