Football News

Rio Ferdinand urges Man Utd to sign England’s “information sponge” over Eduardo Camavinga

By Harry Edwards

Published: 16:10, 6 July 2021 | Updated: 19:02, 10 September 2021

Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester United should prioritise signing Declan Rice over Eduardo Camavinga this summer.

Man Utd have already agreed a deal to sign Jadon Sancho this summer and are being linked with a move for Rennes midfielder Camavinga as they look to bolster their squad ahead of the 2021/22 Premier League campaign.

The Red Devils finished 2020/21 in second, 12 points behind rivals Manchester City, a gap that was only decreased by the champions’ poor run of form towards the end of the campaign. Sancho was a long-term target for Man Utd but Camavinga has emerged as new name after another impressive season for the promising youngster.

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Camavinga broke through to the Rennes first team in April 2019 and has missed just six Ligue 1 games since the start of the 2019/20 campaign, playing 60 times including 52 starts. The 18-year-old also played four times for Rennes in the Champions League last season, though the French side failed to inspire and were knocked out of the group.

His performances have seen Camavinga linked with a big move this summer and Man Utd are reportedly leading the way for his signature, as Rennes are forced to cash in on the midfielder with his contract up next summer.

However, Ferdinand has tipped West Ham and England midfielder Rice as the better option for Man Utd.

“I’ve not seen enough of him if I’m honest,” Ferdinand said of Rice on his YouTube show Vibe with Five.

“I’ve seen a bit of him, his debut against PSG where he got man of the match, unreal.

“Talent? Obviously. Is he going to come in and effect the team right now and become a star, or is he going to come in and be a bit like an Amad [Diallo], who comes in for £40m but is nowhere near the starting XI?

“Is that what we need? Or do we need someone like Declan Rice who is flying at the moment? In an England shirt, he’s taken it to other levels now. We all knew he was a good player at West Ham but what Declan Rice is doing in the England team right now, for his age, is a madness.

“Then it comes down to have Man United got the funds to go and get him from West Ham? What are they going to ask for West Ham?

“For me, I’ve got to be honest, football ability Camavinga, Rice are fantastic players. You can see the potential a mile off. But Rice brings you character.

“He brings you a character that’s probably not in the game as much now as it was in my generation. Someone who is a sponge to information and wants to get better.”

Rice has spent the past few years linked with a move to Chelsea having grown as a defensive midfielder at West Ham under David Moyes, making him a must-start for club and country.

The 22-year-old has made eight interceptions at Euro 2020 so far to help England reach the semi-finals, more than any other player for the Three Lions. He also made 59 interceptions in the Premier League, with only Tomas Soucek managing more among his West Ham team-mates, while also matching potential Ballon d’Or candidate N’Golo Kante.

Ferdinand backs Rice to leave after Euros

Whether Man Utd go in for Rice or decide to stay with Camavinga, Ferdinand believes the midfielder will leave West Ham this summer, mimicking his own departure from Leeds after the 2002 World Cup.

“Wants to get into an environment of winning constantly,” he added.

“He’s envious of his mates who are winning things. He reminds me a bit of myself, when I was his age. You want to get there and get into an environment where you want to win, and have a chance to win.

“Whether that’s Man United or not, I think he probably thinks that at West Ham at the moment [that] he’s done there and as much as he loves the club and the people there, especially after the Euros — I did it after a World Cup with Leeds, I’ve smelt and tasted that chance of being around world class players — ‘I need that every week. I need that now.'”