Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still wants to sign a central midfielder in this window, as he sees it as the final missing piece in his team, although there is an increasing acceptance that Manchester United may have to wait a year for Declan Rice.
The West Ham United midfielder currently best fits Solskjaer’s requirements, which is a holding midfielder who can sit and control play.
The issue is similar to Harry Kane in that Rice still has three years left on his contract, and his club have inevitably set a high price.
With United having already bought Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane in this window, the budget won’t stretch to a £100m purchase without significant sales.
Solskjaer has been keen to offload Donny van de Beek, Phil Jones and Diogo Dalot, but the club have struggled to find buyers.
United have investigated other potential midfield options as a consequence, but there has been a frustration that they haven’t found alternative available candidates.
Brighton and Hove Albion’s Yves Bissouma is one player who United have looked at, and may return to in future, but he is seen as more of a box-to-box player rather than the type of passer Solskjaer wants now.
While the Norwegian wants to do a deal for Rice in this window, and sees it as necessary to make the leap to serious title challengers, it seems highly unlikely unless sales can be made in time.
Rice is keen on the move, and feels it is time to take the next step in his career. Sources have likened it to the Sancho situation, though, with United set to return for a more favourable deal next summer.
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