Therefore, if United are prepared to break the bank for Rice then they should perhaps put their pursuit of him on hold in order to ensure they can persuade Pogba to stay first and thus give their next manager a strong midfield to create a team around.
Despite being out of contract at the end of the campaign, Rangnick has revealed that the former Juventus star won’t be frozen out of the team. He said: “It’s not a question if a player has an expiring contract, the question is how much does he still want to be a part of this group, how much does he still feel emotionally and physically on board.
“As long as this is the case, why shouldn’t Paul Pogba now, after two and a half months of injury, fully fit again, and he wants to show the fans of Manchester United, the board, the whole world what kind of player he can be? Even if it’s only to show enough for a new contract elsewhere, he will be highly motivated to do that and why should I then not play him?
“But there is a difference in how players deal with their current situation. If they handle that in a professional way, an ambitious way, I will play players although they have a contract expiring in the summer.”
It remains to be seen how the contract saga involving Pogba pans out and whether Rice will be seen as a replacement for the 28-year-old rather than the player who could help him thrive.