Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has lamented the club’s decision not to sign a top EPL defensive midfielder.
“Ferdinand remains disappointed that United failed to compete for Declan Rice in the summer transfer window,” the Metro reported on July 7.
Rice was highly sought after by big clubs in the summer transfer window. Not only Arsenal but also Manchester City were interested in signing Rice. United were also linked, but Arsenal and City were the favorites to land the player.
Arsenal was the eventual winner of the race for Rice. The Gunners signed Rice for £150 million, the club’s highest transfer fee ever. He signed a contract with the Gunners until 2028 and was assigned the number 41 shirt.
Arsenal’s investment paid off. Rice has established himself as a key midfielder for Arsenal. This season, Rice has three goals and two assists in 21 official appearances for Arsenal. Two of his three goals in the EPL have been game-winners. Thanks to Rice, Arsenal is at the top of the league with 11 wins, 3 draws, and 1 loss (36 points).
There’s one person who still regrets that United didn’t sign Rice. Ferdinand. “I’ve said before that I would have brought Rice 100%,” Ferdinand said on his YouTube show Vibe with Five.
“You could argue that there are midfielders with more ability than Rice, but I would argue that only Jude Bellingham can compare to Rice in terms of being able to walk into a locker room, set the tone and earn respect immediately,” Ferdinand continued.
Ferdinand added: “Rice can help with performance and standards and culture and environment, but he can also help with attitude and likability and respect. So I thought more than anyone that United should sign him. But United allowed Arsenal to take him,” he concluded.