Manchester United are still quite far from their perfect line-up, despite the signings of Harry Maguire, Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and lately Bruno Fernandes by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Red Devils still haven't replaced Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini, who recently departed from the Old Trafford.
And despite the arrival of Fernandes and rumors of a move for Jack Grealish in the summer, the reserves of defensive midfielders are not that huge. And with potential exits for Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic in the summer, the situation will only become worse for the United transfer decision-makers.
So here is the list of six players, who could fit well in the United squad.
United have already shown interest in Rice, and David Moyes recently fuelled speculation by suggesting West Ham could cash in if the offer was right.
“Quite often when building a club you have to sell,"
said the former United boss.
"I hope it’s not the case with Declan but I said the same with Wayne Rooney and Joleon Lescott [at Everton]."
The problem with the England international would be just that — the premium that Premier League clubs place on young talent, especially ones who have been regulars in Three Lions squad. But the 21-year-old is a proven Premier League performer and a natural in the No.6 role cleaning up in front of the defence.
When Ndidi has been in the starting 11 for Leicester, Brendan Rodgers' side embarked on a run of 11 successive wins from the end of September to early December. But when he was sidelined with a knee injury, the Foxes suffered a blip with sudden losses to Southampton and Burnley and a home draw to Aston Villa, which proved detrimental to their Carabao Cup final hopes.
He's an expert at reading the game, breaking it up and moving the ball on to more attacking teammates and he'd be a great fit at Old Trafford.
Neves is more than just a defensive midfielder, as he does two or three jobs in the Wolves squad — but there's no doubting his ability.
He has spent three seasons at Molineux, two of them in the Premier League, there's a sense that this summer might be the time for the 22-year-old to make a move to a bigger club. United and Liverpool have been linked in the past.
He's still contracted until 2023 at Wolves but as a Jorge Mendes client, United might feel compelled to do some business and pay the price necessary to land one of Europe's classiest midfield talents.
United identified Partey's teammate Marcos Llorente as a possible loan target in the last window, but instead concentrated their efforts on completing the signing of Fernandes.
The 26-year-old confirmed in January he was in talks with his club over a new contract, so it could be that a summer move isn't viable. But the Ghana international is certainly among the more gifted natural defensive midfielders around Europe right now.
Tonali is another player who has been linked with a move to United in the past, however that's hardly be happening given the amount of United transfer speculation that does the rounds daily.
Yet at just 19 years old and boasting an excellent record in Serie A this season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side could do much worse than the Brescia starlet.
He has been named the new Andrea Pirlo in the Italian media — though the great man himself distanced himself from such comparisons.
“He is very good but he is different from me on the pitch,"
“He has everything to be a champion but he is more a midfielder for a two-man midfield. He could already play for a great team; he is the best in this league.”
Brozovic is currently enjoying a stellar rise and is now into his fourth season at Inter Milan.
For the 27-year-old it would be difficult to leave the San Siro as Antonio Conte tries to turn the Nerazzurri into Serie A title winners once again, but he has all the features United would be looking for.
A tough tackler, a leader and a presence in the centre of the pitch — someone who would be natural playing alongside Fred — the Red Devils would be wise to consider the experienced Inter star.