Noel Whelan has tipped West Ham sensation Declan Rice to join a Premier League big hitter and claimed “there’s every chance” he could join Manchester United.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Leeds United and Coventry City striker explained how United are likely to make a concerted move for the England and Hammers rising star.
Whelan fears the Hammers will struggle to hold on to the 20-year-old after his outstanding performances over the last year.
“West Ham have got a really special player on their hands,” Whelan told Football Insider. “They will struggled to hold on to him, because the big clubs will be hot on his trail.
“I think Declan Rice could be the next player who goes for a Premier League record fee. We have just seen Harry Maguire go for £80million and I wouldn’t be surprised if Rice goes for more than that, above £90million, even.
“He’s young, English, hugely talented and is such a long way from his peak. You look at a team like Man United, who need a midfield anchorman and you can see it happening.
“They don’t mind paying over the odds for a player, as we saw in the summer. I could see them looking to get Rice in January.”
The Premier League record fee is the £89million United paid Juventus to re-sign Paul Pogba, ahead of the £80million Maguire deal this summer, which was a world record for a defender.
Rice has emerged as West Ham’s prize asset after establishing himself as a fulcrum of the team in midfield last season.
He also made his first appearance for England this year following his switch of allegiance and started Saturday’s Euro 2020 qualifier demolition of Bulgaria.
In other West Ham news, it can be REVEALED that Pellegrini has been offered multiple free agent forwards by the club.