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Manchester City: Pep could ditch Phillips by signing Rice

Manchester City are interested in West Ham United star Declan Rice stemming back to reports from October 2022 and his potential arrival at the Etihad could allow Pep Guardiola to get rid of summer flop Kalvin Phillips.

According to ExWHUEmployee (via Caught Offside), West Ham are still keen on the England international having failed to sign him from Leeds United in the summer.

He said: “Kalvin Phillips is someone that West Ham, David Moyes especially, 100% rates. I know categorically, factually, that we spoke about signing him in the summer and in January before that, that we really, really wanted [him].

“I get the feeling that patience is running thin with him and I’ve always said that it wouldn’t surprise me if Man City were to offer Phillips in exchange for Rice at the end of the season.”

This could be an ideal opportunity for Guardiola to get rid of a player who has failed to start a single game in Manchester City colours since his £45m switch in 2022, while also bringing in one of the world’s most exciting midfield talents.

Phillips has endured a number of injury problems since signing his £150k-per-week contract at the Etihad but was still deemed fit enough to travel to the World Cup in Qatar, but returned “overweight” in the words of his manager, and hasn’t featured since.

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£150m-valued Rice, meanwhile, is desperate to play in the Champions League and looks unlikely to achieve that dream at the London Stadium, given that the Hammers are currently embroiled in a relegation battle after a shocking start to the season.

If we compare Rice’s stats from last season to Phillips’ stats from the same campaign, it seems clear that the 23-year-old would be a big upgrade at the Etihad.

Rice averaged a 7.10 rating from WhoScored for his performances in the Premier League, compared to his England teammate’s measly 6.45 average rating.

He also averaged more interceptions (1.8 vs 1.2), key passes (0.7 vs 0.5) and dribbles per game (1.4 vs 0.4), which suggests that he is a far better all-round package in midfield.

Fabrizio Romano has previously described Rice as “untouchable” in the transfer window but the Hammers captain’s reluctance to sign a new deal, as well as the Irons’ interest in Phillips, could just give City the edge in any potential deal for the England star this year.