Manchester City will strike back at Erik ten Hag early in the summer transfer window by joining the race for West Ham’s £100 million England striker Declan Rice.
City, who have been outbid by United for Alexis Sanchez and Cristiano Ronaldo in recent years, are ready to back Pep Guardiola in the transfer market and limit Ten Hag’s impact at Old Trafford after his hiring last week.
Despite the fact that a deal for £63 million Dortmund attacker Erling Haaland has already been negotiated, City management have stated that they are open to pursuing Rice as well, with club captain Fernandinho moving to leave a midfield hole.
City’s net spending over the last 12 months was £37 million, with the club’s record signing of Jack Grealish somewhat offset by the sales of Ferran Torres, Jack Harrison, and Angelino.
It provides the current Premier League winners a significant financial advantage over United, who want to rebrand their club around Rice but will be limited in their spending if they fail to qualify for the Champions League.
Furthermore, the idea of competing for championships under Pep Guardiola would be more appealing to Rice, who is 23 years old, than having to help rebuild a club that, according to interim manager Ralf Rangnick, need “open-heart surgery.”
According to reports, the City has already requested to be kept informed of Rice’s future plans and has stated that they are a feasible option.
The only stumbling block would be West Ham’s price tag. They declined to match Tottenham’s £150 million asking price for Harry Kane last summer, feeling the price was overblown.
Rice, who has led West Ham for the majority of the season, has not committed to a new contract while weighing his options.
He would prefer to return to Chelsea, where he was released as a 14-year-old, but it is doubtful given the present upheaval at Stamford Bridge, with Roman Abramovich obliged to sell the club due to fines.
Regardless, West Ham will hope that winning the Europa League and qualifying for the Champions League will be their trump card in convincing Rice to stay for another season.