Rio Ferdinand believes that were Manchester United to sign Declan Rice from West Ham they would be getting a decade-long investment and a player who would symbolise the ethos of the club.
Rice, 22, has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence at West Ham, establishing himself as the first name on David Moyes’ team sheet, a stand-in captain for Mark Noble — who has taken on a peripheral role — as well as first-teamer for Gareth Southgate’s England.
His form in east London has set the rumour mill into overdrive across the past few seasons, with Chelsea thought to have their noses pressed up against the shop window, while Man Utd are another club mooted with a possible interest in the burgeoning midfielder.
Rice finished the 2020/21 season having won possession in the middle third more times than any other West Ham player (118), and those ball-procuring exploits were on display at Wembley on Sunday as England kept a clean sheet and beat Croatia 1-0, thanks to Raheem Sterling’s second-half effort.
Speaking after the Euro 2020 showdown Ferdinand reverted his attention to Man Utd and identified Rice as a player who would seriously bolster Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad, as well as providing the club a long-term option for the next 10 years.
He told FIVE YouTube channel: “With a position like Declan’s, it’s more: do Man Utd feel he’s an absolute need right now? Are there other areas in the team where they have a bigger desire to recruit for?
“I think centre-back, 100 per cent, and I think right wing, 100%.
“West Ham fans are going mad on social media by the way, they’re hammering me like, ‘Why you saying Man Utd should by him?!’ I was asked a question and I answered the question honestly. If Man Utd act on my information and my say-so, then so be it.
“I think whoever buys Declan Rice buys someone who’s going to be there and committed for 10 years, giving you top-quality service, and someone who will be a driver of the right culture at your football club.
“That’s what you’re buying. And obviously a player who’s still got levels to grow in his game, and who’s hungry.”