£60k-a-week star would be ‘perfect’ Fred partner at Old Trafford

Manchester United ace Fred could find the ‘perfect’ central midfield partner if incoming boss Erik ten Hag succeeds in welcoming West Ham United star Declan Rice to Old Trafford this summer, according to transfer insider Dean Jones.

Ten Hag has been appointed as the Red Devils’ new manager, with him taking charge from the end of the season, and it appears the Dutchman will look to bolster the squad he inherits from interim chief Ralf Rangnick.

What’s the latest news involving Rice?

With the opening of the transfer window and ten Hag’s official arrival just a matter of weeks away, it is understood that Rice features high on the Dutchman’s list of summer targets.

Manchester United’s hopes of being able to lure the 23-year-old away from the London Stadium have seemingly been boosted as he has rejected a third contract offer from West Ham and is open to sealing a switch ahead of next season.

Hammers boss David Moyes has attempted to deter suitors from strengthening their interest by insisting he has no intention of allowing Rice to depart and slapping a £150million price tag on the midfielder.

West Ham are in a strong negotiating position as Rice’s £60,000-per-week contract still has more than two years remaining and the east Londoners also hold an option of extending the agreement by 12 months, meaning they are not in an immediate rush to cash-in.

Manchester United are not the Hammers ace’s only admirers as Manchester City have joined the battle for his signature, but it is thought that Rice would prefer to head back to former club Chelsea if he were to move onto pastures new.

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What has Dean Jones said about Rice?

Jones believes Rice would be the ideal central midfield partner for Fred, who has been on Manchester United’s books since his £47million switch from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2018.

However, the transfer insider does have concerns that the Red Devils will be priced out of making a summer move.

Jones told GIVEMESPORT: “He would be perfect as a defensive or box-to-box midfielder, whatever you need right now. He’d work well in tandem with Fred.

“I see him as the perfect fit. I don’t know if their budget is going to stretch to that, though.”

Why is Rice of interest?

Rice may still be in the early stages of his career, but he is already closing in on 200 senior appearances for West Ham.

His performances have also drawn praise from Hammers chief Moyes, with him describing the east Londoners’ prised asset as ‘special’.

Rice has become a key cog in England’s midfield as well, with him winning 29 caps and starting every match at Euro 2020.

While Rice would add steel to Manchester United’s midfield, he has shown that he can also be a threat in the final third of the pitch as this has been his most prolific season to date.

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