Manchester United should forget Declan Rice and splash the cash on Jude Bellingham in the summer transfer window, according to Andy Cole.
United are in the market for a central midfielder at the end of the season and have been linked with West Ham’s Rice. The England international is enjoying a standout season for the Hammers and is bound to attract a lot of transfer attention this summer.
However, West Ham boss David Moyes has already moved to quell interest by claiming Rice is worth “north” of £150million. Rice is under contract with the Hammers until June 2024, meaning United, Chelsea and Manchester City might struggle to get their man this year.
Bellingham is another English star set to be fought over in the summer transfer window. The 18-year-old midfielder only joined Borussia Dortmund in a £25m move in July 2020 but is already being strongly linked with a transfer to the Premier League.
Liverpool and Chelsea are credited with interest in the box-to-box midfielder and former United striker Cole believes he would represent better value for United’s money this summer. He said on Sky Sports: “£150m for a holding midfield player? That’s a lot of money. Not sure how many goals he’s going to get you from that position.
“We were just talking, if the opportunity comes about when Rice is available in the summer and you had Bellingham come available, who would you spend your £150m on?
“Personally, I would go with Bellingham, he’s 18 years of age and he goes that way, that way [points up and down], he creates chances, he scores goals. For such a young man, his ability is absolutely frightening. Bellingham has something extra, just energy.”
Man City currently hold the British transfer record, having forked out £100m to buy Jack Grealish from Aston Villa last summer. But it is possible that it could be broken in the upcoming window, with Rice and Bellingham in red hot form.
Bellingham is under contract with Dortmund until June 2025 and the German club are unlikely to be open to selling, especially given Erling Haaland’s situation. Haaland has a clause in his contract which will allow him to leave this summer for just £63m (€75m) and Dortmund will be loath to lose both stars in the same window.
United are currently concentrating on their search for a new manager, meaning any move for Rice or Bellingham may have to wait. Ajax boss Erik ten Hag and Paris Saint-Germain’s Mauricio Pochettino are still understood to be frontrunners after the initial interviews took place.