England international Declan Rice had a fantastic season for both club and country, becoming an integral part of the West Ham United team, and bagging the Players’ Player of the Year and Young Hammer of the Year award, while also making his full England debut.
The defensive midfielder has now been linked with a few clubs, and his manager, Manuel Pellegrini, did not dispel rumours of the 20-year-old leaving the Hammers in the summer.
“It’s impossible, I cannot know the future,” said West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini about the talented England international.
“He is, of course, a player who has had a brilliant season, who is 20 years old and an English player who has a lot of qualities.
“Maybe some of the big teams, or all of them, will want him. But that is one thing – the other is whether he will stay here or he goes, and I cannot say at this moment.”
So, which clubs could target the young England international? Let’s take a look at 3 clubs who should make a move for Declan Rice in the summer:
It’s quite obvious that Manchester United, who finished sixth in the Premier League, 32 points behind eventual winners Manchester City, need a massive overhaul. Their midfield needs an upgrade, with Ander Herrera leaving the club, and Nemanja Matic past his best.
Rice could be the perfect player to shield the fragile Manchester United defence which conceded 54 goals in the league this season, which is almost double of the number City conceded this year. He could also be the player who could help Pogba shine, giving him the freedom to move forward, something Fred hasn’t been able to do with authority.
The 20-year-old completed 98 tackles this year in the league, which is 44 more than the highest by a United midfielder (Ander Herrera). At 20 years of age, Rice could be the bedrock on which Manchester United’s future is built on.
Much like Manchester United, Chelsea haven’t found the perfect balance in midfield. Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri brought along Jorginho from Napoli, but the Italian midfielder hasn’t quite had the impact that Sarri would’ve hoped for.
If Sarri wants to change things around by signing a more dynamic player and benching Jorginho, Rice could be the insurance package for the Chelsea team. The Blues have struggled to score goals despite signing Gonzalo Higuaín in the January transfer window.
Mateo Kovacic is set to return to Real Madrid after his loan spell, while Danny Drinkwater may not have a future at Chelsea after not featuring in even a single Premier League game which leaves Sarri with just three central midfielders – Kante, Jorginho and Ross Barkley.
Any move will have to depend on whether Chelsea are able to appeal the transfer ban, though.
Big, strong, and powerful, Declan Rice could be a player who is seen as a long-term replacement to Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho, who recently turned 34.
Rice may not have the passing ability of the Brazilian, but he does make it up with his physical presence at the base of midfield, retrieving balls and dispossessing opponents with his strong tackling.
The England international is good in the air, which could be another reason why Manchester City could sign him, as Pep Guardiola recently revealed that their lack of height is their biggest weakness.
The 20-year-old midfielder is quick on the pitch, making key interceptions ahead of the defence and allowing the full-backs to attack – which is similar to what Guardiola requires in his defensive midfielders.