Opinion: West Ham must play hardball if Man United start bidding war

Image for Opinion: West Ham must play hardball if Man United start bidding war

It has been widely reported that Frank Lampard is eyeing a summer move for the Hammers’ defensive midfielder Declan Rice, but according to reports it now appears that Manchester United may have entered the fray to secure the 21-year-old’s signature.

While almost all West Ham fans would be sad to see the fan favourite, if he is going to go, the Red Devils’ involvement in the transfer could be to the Hammers’ benefit.

Twice this season Manchester United have paid vastly over the odds to secure transfer target, with the arrivals of Harry Maguire in the summer and Bruno Fernandes in January.

Leicester City played hardball and held out to the very last minutes of the transfer window in August before allowing England international Maguire to depart for £80m, a world-record fee for a defender. At the time Transfermarkt rated the centre back at £45m meaning that the Red Devils had to offer a significant wedge over his estimated market value.

There was intense speculation linking Fernandes with a switch to Old Trafford too, though he had to wait six months after Maguire for his move. When he arrived from Sporting CP, the initial price was reported at £47m, rising to £67.7m when factoring in add-ons.

Given he has begun his career in Manchester at a blistering pace, both scoring and assisting seven in 11 matches, there is a strong possibility they will have to pay Sporting the majority of his upper estimate.

At the time he arrived Fernandes’ estimated market value was £43.2m, meaning that, once again, Manchester United had paid over the odds to secure the player they wanted, and that is where Rice comes in.

No player in the West Ham squad has a higher market value than Rice’s estimate of £44.55; additionally, no player in the team, aside from Michail Antonio in recent weeks, is more important to David Moyes’ side.

Should the Scot be open to offers from his former employer and Chelsea, then he must initiate a bidding war for this sides’ prized asset. The Hammers’ hierarchy must ensure that if anyone does lure Rice away from the London Stadium, West Ham are financially rewarded.

The Blues also have pervious experience paying over the odds for players given Morata arrived for £23.4m more than his market value, though they did recoup most of that by selling him this summer. Furthermore, Kepa Arrizabalaga arrived for an astronomical £72m, which was believed to be £54m over his value.

No supporter wants to see Rice depart, but if the England international does decide to call time on his career at the London Stadium this summer, then it is vital West Ham play Manchester United and Chelsea off of one another to secure the largest sum possible.

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