Arsenal make Man Utd rue decision as Erik ten Hag told of dressing room blow

Crisis? Not for us – Erik ten Hag can see Man Utd progress after Chelsea win

Manchester United may have been left kicking themselves over their failure to sign Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice in the summer transfer window. The England ace joined the Gunners from West Ham and has since emerged as one of their most important players, delivering a series of outstanding displays at the heart of their midfield.

Rice’s leadership skills have also been clear to see during his time at Arsenal, with his ability to galvanise his team-mates making him a valuable member of the dressing room. United would certainly have reaped the rewards of having a presence like Rice in their squad, given the unrest that has gripped the club over the course of this season.

It was reported earlier this week that Erik ten Hag had lost the support of around half of his players, prompting United to ban several media outlets from their press conference on Tuesday. The number of dressing room leaks from Old Trafford over the last few years has also contributed to the possibility that all might not be well behind closed doors.

Rice would have been a key figure in helping to unite the squad if he had joined the Red Devils, but Arsenal have instead been enjoying those benefits after he chose to sign for the north Londoners. Ten Hag was said to have been eager to sign Rice during the summer, with United having tracked his progress for the majority of his career.

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Rio Ferdinand is among those to have been contemplating the transformative effect that Rice would have had on United if he had signed for them instead of Arsenal. He told Vibe with Five: “Declan Rice, I said it before. Man Utd, he was the player I would have 100 per cent gone and got.

“You could argue there’s midfielders with more ability than him but I would argue that it’s only Jude Bellingham that comes near him in terms of being able to get into a dressing room and trying to get control of that dressing room and get the respect of that dressing room on day two, three, four, straight away.

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“Not only with performances and standards and helping with the culture and the environment but the attitude and the likeability factor, the respect factor that he would get straight away. That’s why I thought, he more than anybody, it was important that Man United should’ve gone and got him and they allowed Arsenal to go and get him.”

Ten Hag, meanwhile, was quizzed on United’s reported dressing room unrest after Wednesday’s victory over Chelsea but was quick to insist that his side’s display was evidence enough to suggest there is no crisis. He said: “Crisis? Not for us. We keep calm, look at the process where we know where we have to build.

“We are going in the right direction. We don’t get distracted by criticism around us, but we are very critical of ourselves. We are not quickly satisfied and happy, we always want to do better. We have to improve a lot if we want to be successful, but this team is capable of being successful.”

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