Manchester City urged to sign English midfield ace: A good option for Guardiola

Former Stoke City star Jonathan Walters has urged Manchester City to sign Declan Rice in the summer.

As reported by Manchester Evening News, Walters has advised Pep Guardiola to sign the West Ham midfielder, who has been one of the rising stars of the Premier League this season.

As a result of his displays, Rice has been linked with a host of top clubs across Europe, including Manchester City, who are keen to bolster their midfield unit in the summer.

Declan Rice: An ideal replacement for Fernandinho

Manchester City star Fernandinho’s decline in stock has been somewhat visible this season, mainly due to a couple of niggles he suffered during the campaign. And with the Brazilian already turning 34 this month, Guardiola will be keen to secure a replacement in the summer.

Rice, in that regard, seems like a viable option given his high defensive work-rate. He has averaged nearly three tackles per game, which is significantly more than any other Manchester City player this season. He can, therefore, add more urgency to the Man City midfield especially when it comes to the defensive aspect.

Additionally, Rice is an excellent reader of the game, having averaged 1.5 interceptions per game. His tally of 1.6 clearances per game is also indicative of his defensive work-rate. And this could be beneficial for the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva, both of who are attack-minded midfielders.

That means Rice can be accommodated as the holding midfielder in Guardiola’s 4-3-3, with the likes of de Bruyne, David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Ilkay Gundogan operating in the advanced midfield roles.

The 20-year old’s agility, coupled with his aggression and fearless attitude whilst on the pitch arguably makes him a slight upgrade on Fernandinho going ahead in the future.

However, he will need to work on his passing range, despite attaining an excellent pass completion rate of 86% this season. Rice will also have to improve his positional knowledge in order to thrive in Guardiola’s Juego de posicion system.

But, if we consider the promise he has shown at such an early stage of his career, it is probably fair to say that the West Ham star can potentially be groomed into a world class midfielder.

That said, Manchester City will face stiff competition from arch-rivals Manchester United as well as other top European clubs, meaning they will likely have to spend a fortune in order to attain the services of this West Ham star, who is more than ready to take the next step in his career.

Stat courtesy: Whoscored

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