Transfer gossip: Man Utd star to replace Arsenal-bound England midfielder as Rafa waits for West Ham

Ian Watson
Arsenal target Rice

Arsenal are pushing ahead with a £200,000-a-week deal for Declan Rice, who could be replaced at West Ham by a £25million-rated Manchester United midfielder…


We thought it had been a little too quiet around Rafa Benitez amid the current panic at some Premier League clubs scrapping at the foot of the table. There has been little noise to suggest that Southampton or Leeds have even considered the Spaniard, despite their struggles to recruit a new manager. But Benitez could find a way back into employment with West Ham…

The Hammers already have a manager in David Moyes, but The Times says that is likely to change if they lose at home to Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

West Ham find themselves second from bottom and they have already sounded out Mauricio Pochettino and Thomas Tuchel about taking over, with neither interested in the job. But the Daily Mail reckons Benitez is ‘on standby’ to come in should Forest turn over Moyes’s Irons.

Read more: Next manager to leave: David Moyes is favourite after Graham Potter reassurances


If Benitez, or anyone else replaces Moyes, then the new manager will have to address the issue of Declan Rice in the summer.

Rice has been heavily linked with a big move and at least half the big six is eyeing up the England midfielder. But Football Insider suggests Arsenal are leading the race for the West Ham captain’s signature, with the Gunners in ‘sustained contact’ with Rice’s representatives over a £200,000-a-week contract.

Should West Ham lose Rice, they could turn to Scott McTominay to replace the 24-year-old. Manchester United are said to be open to offers for the Scotland international, with an asking price set in the region of £25million, which hardly seems unreasonable.


Tuchel has turned down West Ham, perhaps with one eye on a return to PSG…

The Evening Standard claims the Parisians have grown tired of Christophe Galtier – after all, they lead Ligue 1 by only five points – and they plan to offer Tuchel a return to the job he was fired from in December 2020.

Should Tuchel return, he will almost certainly be reunited with Neymar who, apparently, has no intention of leaving PSG before the end of his contract in 2027, despite reports the club want rid of the Brazilian. L’Equipe says Lionel Messi is rather less keen to stick around. After the World Cup, the Argentina star was minded to extend his deal beyond the end of this season but his stance has changed and he is now more likely to move on in the summer.