Manchester United spent over £130million on Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane – but former midfielder Paul Ince insists they needed a central midfielder
Manchester United should have focussed their efforts on signing Declan Rice this summer despite their array of star-studded arrivals, according to the club’s former midfielder Paul Ince.
United spent over £130million to sign winger Jadon Sancho, centre-back Raphael Varane and end the transfer window with a bang by bringing forward Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford.
While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s priority areas to strengthen were certainly bolstered, he missed out on a central midfielder despite long-term links with Rice.
Ince expects Solskjaer may rue that decision in the future, claiming the West Ham vice-captain would have been the “perfect” signing for the Red Devils.
“David Moyes didn’t get long enough at all [at Manchester United ] and what he’s showing is what a very good manager that he is. He’s got West Ham up and playing,” Ince told The United Stand as he previewed Sunday’s Premier League encounter at the London Stadium.
“They play a different style and you know what you’re going to get with West Ham. They defend deep, they get back in their shape and they play from there.
“With (Michail) Antonio not playing, it might dilute them a bit as far as that’s concerned. But midfield, Declan Rice I thought was outstanding in the Euros. He looks like he’s stepped up a gear, gone up another gear this year. He’s been brilliant in midfield.
“There was rumours we were going to try and sign him at Manchester United and he’d have been perfect.”
Ince spent six seasons working under Sir Alex Ferguson, winning six major honours, so he knows what it takes to be a successful midfielder at Old Trafford – and Rice fits the bill.
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The 53-year-old added: “I’ve always stated that, and Sir Alex Ferguson has always said that, if you win the midfield battle, nine times out of 10 you’re going to win the game because you control it and get more of the ball.
“It’s going to be an aggressive game in there, it’s not going to be a passing game. (Tomas) Soucek is 6′ 4” and he likes to put a foot in, so does Declan Rice.
“They’ve got plenty of legs and we’re going to have to match them.”
After a brilliant 2020/21 campaign with West Ham, Rice featured heavily in England’s midfield as the Three Lions reached the final of Euro 2020 this summer, where they lost to Italy on penalties.
Reports last month claimed he has decided not to sign a new contract with the east London club, leaving the Red Devils poised to make a £100million approach next year.