Man Utd 'lead Arsenal and Liverpool in Fabian Ruiz transfer race and see Napoli midfielder as Declan Rice alternative'
MANCHESTER UNITED have identified Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz as the ideal alternative to West Ham star Declan Rice.
The Red Devils are keen to bolster their midfield in the summer following a difficult first half of the 2021-22 campaign.
They are also expecting Paul Pogba to leave in the summer as his contract is up at the end of the season.
Scott McTominay and Fred have impressed in recent weeks – but Man Utd still seem short in the centre of midfield.
West Ham talisman Rice remains their preferred choice, although the England international will set them back £100million.
But if they cannot land the 23-year-old then their Plan B is thought to be the acquisition of Spanish midfielder Ruiz, according to La Repubblica.
Arsenal and Liverpool are also said to be in the race to sign the 25-year-old from Napoli, whose contract runs until 2023.
However, United remain in 'pole position' to snatch him away from the Italian giants in the summer.
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Ruiz has made 148 appearances for Napoli since arriving from Real Betis in 2018.
He has scored 20 goals and provided 13 assists and and can play a host of positions – defensive midfield, as a No10 or on the left-hand side.
Ruiz has also been capped 15 times by the Spanish national team.
Meanwhile, Borussia Monchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria is also a potential target for Man Utd.
But the priority for the Red Devils remains Rice.
SunSport understands United are likely to seize their chance in the coming weeks to do the groundwork in putting together a big bid at the end of the season.
The aim would be to make Rice the centre-piece of their side.
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Yet they may not have it all their own way in the battle for one of England’s best players, with Manchester City and Chelsea both long-term admirers.
With the Hammers insisting their talisman is not for sale, both clubs have kept watching from a distance.
But at the first sign a deal may be possible, they could make a move.
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