Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confessed Manchester United should’ve signed Arsenal star Declan Rice during the course of his managerial tenure at Old Trafford.

The England international eventually left West Ham last summer in a deal that briefly made him the most expensive signing in the history of British football.

Despite serious interest from Manchester City, Arsenal and Mikel Arteta were able to persuade Rice to join the north London club and the 25-year-old has made an instant impact at the Emirates, helping power the Gunners’ Premier League title bid.

Despite significant investment, United’s midfield engine room remains something of a chaotic mess with recent recruits Christian Eriksen, Casemiro and Sofyan Amrabat facing uncertain futures.

Soslkjaer made only two midfield signings during his time in the United hotseat in the shape of Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek.

Both players endured contrasting fortunes at the club but Solskajer feels United’s chances of succeeding would have been aided had Rice arrived at the Theatre of Dreams

‘‘I really like him [Declan Rice] as a player – we’ve discussed him a few times, and I think we would’ve done well with him in midfield,’ Solskjaer told The Overlap.

‘‘His legs, covering the pitch, and I think he improved a lot on his playmaking as well. Obviously, he would’ve cost some money, but we could’ve and should’ve gone for him.’’

Rice will almost certainly start at the heart of England’s midfield this summer alongside Real Madrid superstar Jude Bellingham, but the pair could have been lining up together at United had Solskjaer had his way

‘‘Jude [Bellingham], he was in the building,’’ revealed Solskjaer.

‘‘I was there, Sir Alex Ferguson was there, Bryan Robson and Eric Cantona were all there that day when he came to the club.

‘‘We all spoke to him and sold it as well as he could. He knew what he wanted a certain amount of minutes in the first team. He was 17 at the time, and he was the most mature 17-year-old I’ve ever met – he had it all planned out.’’

New minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe is currently in the midst of overseeing a massive overhaul of United’s infrastructure, but Solskajer insists the scouting department was functioning well during his time at the helm and continued to unearth potential talent.

He said: ‘‘[On the manager being involved in transfers at Manchester United] The manager watches all the players, and there’s multiple lists.

‘‘I don’t know how many scouts they employ, but I don’t think there’s many players they’ll miss. Then they’ll pick the players – it all depends on the budget. Then you meet his players and decide if you like their attitude.’’