Man United in ‘pole position’ to sign Napoli star after ‘falling behind’ in Declan Rice race

Manchester United are in ‘pole position’ to sign Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz this summer, according to reports in Italy.

The links come amid suggestions that United have fallen behind their Premier League rivals in the race for West Ham United’s Declan Rice.

According to¬†La Repubblica, United are ‘on pole’ to sign Fabian when he enters the final year of his Napoli contract in July.

The outlet claims Napoli sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli admires Sassuolo midfielder Davide Frattesi.

But if they want to challenge Inter Milan for his services, they must first resolve Fabian’s uncertain future.

United could view the Spain international as Paul Pogba’s replacement, with the 28-year-old destined to depart as a free agent in the same transfer window.

The Red Devils have been linked with Rice for years, and with Nemanja Matic in the twilight of his career, Ralf Rangnick will be eyeing a defensive-midfield signing.

Pogba and Donny van de Beek’s uncertain futures are also of concern, while Fred’s contract expiring at the end of next season presents another potential problem.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see United splash out on a defensive midfielder and more advanced option in the next two windows.

But Glen Johnson doesn’t believe Rice will view the club as an enticing destination compared to other Premier League heavyweights.

Ex-Chelsea and Liverpool defender Glen Johnson believes Rice would choose a move to either of his former clubs over an Old Trafford switch.

He told “I don’t think Manchester United could get anyone better than Declan Rice. If he was available, I think Chelsea or Liverpool would be in front of them anyway.

“Those players only come around once. United have got [Donny] van de Beek or whoever, and they try to sign all these players in that position for loads of money, and it’s just never worked.

“If I was Declan, I would be a bit concerned, to be honest with you. I’d be thinking Manchester United aren’t the Manchester United of old.

“There used to be a time when anytime Manchester United came calling, you go.

It was the number one place. Everyone wanted to go. But they don’t have that appeal anymore.

“I don’t think he’d end up there whether they want him or not.

“But in terms of their business, I think they should just sit tight and wait until the summer and weigh the whole situation up with everybody.”