West Ham's Declan Rice 'stunk of a Manchester United signing' vs Leeds

West Ham's Declan Rice in action against Manchester United

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice "stunk of a Manchester United signing" against Leeds on Friday night. 

That's according to talkSPORT pundit Tony Cascarino, who was left drooling over the England international's performance in the Hammers' 2-1 win. 

While he may have used some unconventional vocabulary, Rice was indeed in impressive form against the Yorkshire side. 

Controlling the midfield for much of the contest, he made two interceptions, created two chances, completed two dribbles and won three aerial duels. 

Rice, alongside Tomas Soucek, gave West Ham the platform to sit back and hit Leeds' high-pressing side on the counter, and his level of influence on the game clearly struck a chord with the former Millwall front-man. 

He told talkSPORT: "Declan Rice was superb. He absolutely ran the show in midfield. He was up against Kalvin Phillips as well, who is a good player, and I thought he just took the game by the scruff of the neck. He just stunk of a Manchester United signing to me. I was sat there thinking, ‘Wow!'"

Quite what a Manchester United signing smells of remains a matter of debate, and so does the likelihood of the Red Devils managing to snap up West Ham's matchday skipper any time soon. 

According to The Daily Star, West Ham value Rice at a staggering £80m, and that price-tag has already put off the Red Devils. 

United would also face competition from the 21-year-old's long-term admirers Chelsea, who are said to be preparing a bid for the January transfer window. 

GIVEMESPORT's Christy Malyan says...

Rice looks ready to take the next step in his career, and he'd be a fantastic addition to United's midfield - one that maybe even allows Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to construct an engine room more in line with what we've seen from Pep Guardiola's Manchester City. 

On paper, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes make an ideal No.8 pairing. The only problem is that United seem to lack the defensive balance to pull it off, and it's quite telling that these days Solskjaer tends to play with two holding midfielders. 

That's partly because none of United's options there - Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic - quite have what it takes to run the midfield single-handed, allowing Pogba and Fernandes the freedom they need to thrive. 

West Ham's Declan Rice gets ready to face Aston Villa

Rice, however, has that mix of physicality, defensive awareness and guile on the ball to take such responsibility on his shoulders. Comparing him to Fernandinho would be overstepping the mark, but at 21 years of age he's definitely got the potential to grow into exerting that kind of influence on games. 

Of course, whether £80m is a justifiable sum to spend is another debate altogether. That's a huge amount of money to pay for a holding midfielder without any experience playing at Europa League or Champions League level. It's also not clear how much longer Pogba will be at United for. 

Nonetheless, Rice is clearly outgrowing West Ham and sooner or later, one of the top clubs will snap him up. It may as well be United, considering what they currently lack in deep midfield.

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