A major update has emerged in Manchester City’s pursuit of a £58.5m-rated beast, and it could lead to Txiki Begiristain striking gold for the club.
According to The Athletic, the Premier League champions are actively considering a move for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice this summer.
In The Athletic’s “The Radar” feature, Manchester City and Manchester United have both been named as clubs who are heavily interested in the 22-year-old. Chelsea are also thought to be in the running for the defensive midfielder, who is currently away with England at the European Championship.
Jim White claimed earlier this year that David Sullivan told him it will take more than £100m for Rice to leave West Ham this summer. The presenter told talkSPORT: “Sullivan has already told me it’s got to be north of £100m or they won’t entertain it.”
Back in March, England manager Gareth Southgate lavished praise on the “outstanding” Rice as the 50-year-old highlighted the youngster’s impressive defensive work, but admitted that he needs to work on how he builds attacks from the defensive midfield position.
Southgate told West Ham’s official website: “He’s outstanding at recovering balls in midfield. I think there are only a couple higher in the league in terms of recoveries in those midfield areas.
“I think there is still more to come with the ball, that building of attacks, that receiving from defence and transferring the ball quickly forward. We see evidence of it and we see at times he has the athleticism to drive forward with the ball as well.
Brazil international Fernandinho is due to leave the Etihad Stadium at the end of the month and it is time to say goodbye to him and welcome in a fresh, young, replacement in the form of Rice.
The 36-year-old is in the latter stages of his career and is not able to commit to being City’s defensive midfielder for another few years at his age, whereas Rice could be their starting man for the next decade. At 22, the Englishman has almost his entire career ahead of him, and City could land a key player for years to come by bringing him in.
Begiristain, City’s director of football, could strike gold by sealing a deal for Rice and must now attempt to sign him this summer. The England ace enjoyed a terrific season in the Premier League with West Ham and has proven in recent seasons that he is a top-class defensive midfielder. The 22-year-old has averaged a WhoScored rating of 6.93 or higher in each of his last three Premier League campaigns, with a score of 7.01 for the 2020/21 season.
The £58.5m-rated beast is active on the defensive end in the Premier League. He made 3.6 tackles and interceptions per game in the season just gone for West Ham, having averaged 5.1 in the 2019/20 campaign. Fernandinho averaged 2.6 last season and 2.5 in the previous campaign.
Therefore, Rice could be a superb replacement for the Brazilian, and City must work hard to get this deal done over the summer.