Manchester United can complete two Premier League midfield transfers to solve biggest squad issue
Declan Rice and Youri Tielemans would both be near the top of the list if you were looking for exceptional individual performances against Manchester United this season.
Rice was tremendously unlucky to lose to Manchester United at Old Trafford at the end of last month. The 23-year-old was the finest midfielder on the pitch, and his importance for West Ham is growing by the week.
In October, Tielemans was on the winning side at the King Power Stadium. The Belgium international scored the game’s first goal and put up an outstanding effort in the middle of the field. All day, his link-up play with James Maddison sliced through United’s midfield.
Tielemans isn’t the first player to score against United. Last season, he was also brilliant in the Foxes’ FA Cup quarter-final victory.
Those two aren’t the only players who have stood out against United this season – let’s face it, it hasn’t always been easy to wow – but they stick out for a few of reasons. First, they play in positions where United will most likely aim to reinforce this summer, and second, both might be on the move by the end of the season.
Both of these players are worth keeping an eye on for United. Rice fits the criteria wonderfully as a holding midfielder, which is a primary focus for the team this summer. The England international appears to be ready to move on from the Hammers, and he may be a good match at Old Trafford.
Rice has the confidence and charm to make the step up, and his game may be suited to United’s 4-3-3 formation. He has experience as a center back and possesses the positional acumen to play as a lone holding midfielder, as well as the passing range and dribbling ability to break up a game when necessary.
If United do not sign him, one of their rivals will almost surely do so. Rice is linked with a return to Chelsea almost every transfer window, the club that discharged him at the age of 14 and has seemed to regret it ever since.
He has a contract with West Ham until 2024, with an option for an additional year, so he won’t be cheap, but given his talent, age, and home-grown status, a transfer fee of around £100 million is reasonable
Tielemans could be a progressive No 8 if United feel they need to recruit in that area this summer, a decision that will likely be based on the futures of Donny van de Beek and Paul Pogba. If Rice fits the bill as a holding midfielder, then Tielemans could be a progressive holding midfielder if United feel they need to recruit in that area this summer.
Pogba has been in fine form since recovering from an ankle injury last week, and the three fingers he put up towards the bench after scoring at Turf Moor sparked a social media frenzy, but he is still more than likely to leave on a free transfer at the end of the season.
Rangnick’s 4-3-3 formation is one that is likely to be maintained by the future manager. The more advanced roles can be filled by Fred and Bruno Fernandes, but if Pogba leaves, another option may be required.
Tielemans might be a good fit. He has Premier League experience, has excelled in a club with a strong work culture that wants to put pressure on opponents, and has a great passing range as well as a goal-scoring eye. The 24-year-contract old’s runs until 2023, and with Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester showing symptoms of deterioration, he may see the summer as an excellent opportunity to seek a move to a bigger club.
His contract situation could push Leicester to negotiate, and if the East Midlands miss out on European football this season, Tielemans’ desire to leave could be advantageous.
Rice and Tielemans have already had a good look at United this season, and based on their performances, they both have something to offer at Old Trafford.