Rice, Kamara, Phillips – Manchester United’s midfield summer transfer search

With the January window closed, Manchester United will prioritize signing a central midfielder when they get down to business during the summer transfer window – but who might they recruit?

Having finished as runners-up to Manchester City in the Premier League last season, key figures in the Old Trafford boardroom missed out on a top-level holding player.

Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo were signed as part of a triple statement of intent.

However, amid concrete interest in Declan Rice and alternative options, United were unable to strengthen in that area and, in turn, will revisit their search at the end of this campaign.

Despite concerns that West Ham might dig their heels in over a valuation for Rice, the England international is still understood to be target number one in that regard.

Amadou Haidara, Boubacar Kamara, Kalvin Phillips and Ruben Neves represent alternative targets.

Here is the state of play with those players and others linked with the Premier League giants;

Amadou Haidara (RB Leipzig): His name started to surface on account of his existing relationship with recently-appointed interim manager Ralf Rangnick – which derived from the German’s association with the Red Bull group. That rumored mid-season approach failed to materialize, though, as the Mali international mulls over his options before the summer transfer window.

Boubacar Kamara (Marseille): An alternative target to Rice, the Marseille graduate represents excellent value for money as he enters the final months of his contract with the Ligue 1 side. Kamara would have been available for a cut-price this January but, once again, it proved to be radio silence in that respect from United and the player himself. You would expect him to be a man in demand.

Ruben Neves took center stage for the Wolves during their January win at Old Trafford.

Ruben Neves (Wolves): It was Neves who took center stage for Wolves during the impressive win against United right at the start of this month. From then on, speculation over the Portuguese and a move to Old Trafford came to the fore and, amid further interest from Arsenal and other clubs, the Midlands outfit are reported to have slapped a £ 40million price tag on his head.

Calvin Phillips (Leeds): Before the January window opened, there were suggestions that United might set sights on a controversial move for Phillips if they miss out on Rice – his midfield partner for England – next summer. Leeds have ‘no intention’ of selling their most-prized asset, though, while a fierce rivalry that exists across the M62 would represent a potential stumbling block in any case.

Who should United sign next summer? Have your say in the comments section below.

Declan Rice (West Ham): A top target for United. You would expect West Ham to play hard-ball for a player who remains openly wanted by the Old Trafford giants and Chelsea. Rice expressed his love for playing at Old Trafford after the Hammers slipped to defeat there earlier this month. The noise from east London, though, suggests it might take a fee upwards of £ 100million to land him.

James Ward-Prowse (Southampton): Having progressed through the famed Southampton academy, the central midfielder – renowned for his set-piece prowess – has played 289 games in the Premier League and was unlucky to miss out on Euro 2020 last summer. A one-club man to this point, the Saints captain has been tentatively linked to United, Chelsea and other such big-hitters.

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