Manchester United did not sign Declan Rice from West Ham over the transfer window because they deemed their defence to be a priority, reports say.
The England international is being linked with the Red Devils ahead of the January window amid his stellar form for the Hammers this season.
Manchester United are on the lookout for midfield reinforcements with the club yet to replace the likes of Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera, who left earlier this year.
And Goal have revealed the Red Devils didn’t sign Rice because they deemed the signings of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire to be the priority.
Last season, United were a mess at the back.
The Red Devils conceded a huge 54 Premier League goals as they finished outside the Champions League qualifying slots.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was keen to rectify that and, as a result, spent over £100million to transform his backline.
Wan-Bissaka touched down from Crystal Palace for £50m to become one of the club’s costliest defenders.
And Maguire then followed weeks later, arriving from Premier League rivals Leicester for a world-record £80m.
But while United’s intentions were good, their thinking is yet to pay off.
While Rice has flourished for West Ham the likes of Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira and Fred have toiled at Old Trafford.
And United’s defence has looked similarly shaky with the Red Devils shipping eight goals from as many matches so far.
Meanwhile, talkSPORT presenter Sam Matterface claimed last month that Rice would be a huge asset for United should they sign him.
And he also believes the West Ham midfielder may help the Red Devils coax the best from Paul Pogba.
“I think that’s what they need, I think they need someone in that position,” Matterface said.
“At the moment they’re playing [Paul] Pogba a little bit deeper because [Nemanja] Matic’s legs have gone and can’t get around the pitch as much as he did before, [Scott] McTominay’s playing alongside Pogba as a result of that.
“I think ideally, and they did this in the game against Southampton, they pushed Pogba into a No.10 position when they were chasing the game.
“But Declan Rice for £90m, is that something you could see happening for Manchester United?
“Is it the right way to sort of spend your money?”
United are next in action against Liverpool on October 20 after the international break.