Manchester United have been told by West Ham how much Declan Rice will cost – and it will not be cheaper. So who could club football director John Murtough sign instead and save some money?
United are in the race to sign West Ham star Rice this summer, along with Manchester City and Chelsea.
The Red Devils are arguably in need of a midfielder the most out of the Premier League trio and are likely to make the biggest play for the England international.
However, City are looking for the long-term successor to Fernandinho while Chelsea are in the midst of a similar search with Jorginho and N’Golo Kante entering their 30s.
West Ham are aware of the interest in the 23-year-old and are ready to price him at close to £95m, according to Fabrizio Romano.
That is an eyewatering amount of money, though, and United might be better placed going elsewhere and saving their pennies for other positions.
So, who could make the move to Old Trafford instead?
There are many similarities between Rice and Tchouameni, who is currently plying his trade for Monaco.
The Frenchman has had an explosive rise to the top with Chelsea and Real Madrid interested in his services but he should still be available for cheaper than Rice.
However, United may have to move fast to avoid his value skyrocketing much like the West Ham star with Tchouameni already tipped for the top.
United could land some real value with Kessie, who will see his contract expire at the end of the season at AC Milan.
With no plans to renew, the Ivorian would be available for nothing but Barcelona are reportedly in for the midfielder.
However, the fortunes at Old Trafford should be able to dissuade Kessie from a move to the Nou Camp but it might take a sizeable signing-on fee.
The RB Leipzig star has been heavily linked with United over the past couple of months due to Ralf Rangnick’s connection to the player.
It was the German coach that brought the Mali international to Europe with RB Salzburg and then RB Leipzig while he would love to have him in midfield at Old Trafford.
There are question marks over if the 24-year-old could control a midfield like Rice but his pressing ability makes him a must-have in a side that possesses little of that trait.
United might want to look a little closer to home in their pursuit of a midfielder and it has already been confirmed that Garner will be part of the squad next season.
While there are no expectations to become a key part of the United squad just yet, this is the ideal opportunity for the 20-year-old to begin his journey to doing so.
Once dubbed the new Michael Carrick, the Red Devils are crying out for a player that echoes that of their former assistant coach while bringing through the youth has always been a policy at United.
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