Gary Neville believes Manchester United should not be forced to pay overboard for Declan Rice, with the Englishman currently being rated at £100 million.
Rice is expected to leave West Ham at the end of the current campaign, with United, Chelsea and Arsenal all interested but the Hammers are demanding a mammoth fee for the Englishman, who runs out of contract next year but the club still have an option to extend until 2025.
Prior to West Ham’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup on Wednesday evening, Roy Keane accused Rice of not stagnation and claimed the West Ham star ‘needs to do a lot more’ to justify such a high valuation.
Neville says he agrees with Keane’s verdict and has urged United to only bid around £60m for Rice.
“I heard what Roy said last night and I do agree with him,” Neville told Sky Sports News.
“I love Declan Rice, but I’ve said this for a long time about him, and Jamie Carragher will tell you so. When we do Monday Night Football and West Ham play, we always have the tactical cam, which is the high camera.”
“Obviously, Declan knows the position, but when I look at world-class holding midfielders, and players of that type, because Rice doesn’t score or assist enough goals, so you’re putting him into that category of more of a destroyer, you’ve then got to be someone who I think is highly competent on the ball and linking play, and having that knowledge of the subtleties of getting on the ball from the back four.”
“I personally feel, at this moment in time, that Declan needs to go and work under a different set-up, he needs to drive forward in his career, he needs to go and play at a different club.”
“That’s nothing against West Ham or David Moyes. I think he’s done a brilliant job with Declan Rice and he’s had a great few years.”
“But for me, I wouldn’t be spending £110m or £120m on Rice if I was Manchester United this summer. I would spend £50m-60m on Declan Rice, but I wouldn’t spend the figures being reported because I feel in that position, I still feel like he’s got a lot of growth.”
Neville also believes such an amount on a holding midfielder, who doesn’t provide many goals or assists, would be the wrong move for the Red Devils.
“I know Chelsea have spent [£107m] on that position [for Enzo Fernandez], but I think the holding midfield player, the player who connects the back to the front and links play, to me that feels like a cap of £50m, £60m, maybe £65m,” said Neville.
“It doesn’t feel like a £100m position. If you’re spending £100m, you’ve got to have somebody who’s scoring 25 goals and getting 10 or 15 assists. That’s where £100m sit for me, even though the market gets destroyed and goes up every year in each position.”
“I just feel like, if Declan Rice can go to another club and play a couple of years somewhere, that would be great.”
“I want him to have a great career and I think he’s a brilliant lad, but I agree with some of Roy’s points that I think there’s a lot of growth, and a lot for Declan to do to get up to the levels of Casemiro, Rodri, and players at the top of the game in those positions.”