Aside from the fact that he is an excellent player who would improve most teams, Manchester City’s pursuit of Declan Rice could see a number of problems solved for Pep Guardiola.
Firstly, the more documented issue is that the reigning Premier League champions are extremely keen to sign a replacement for the ageing Fernandinho, who, at 33, will begin to decline soon.
The Brazilian’s impact on the Cityzens is huge. In the two league games that he missed through injury throughout the festive period, Guardiola watched his side lose back-to-back games against Crystal Palace and Leicester – the fact that Fernandinho is the only one of his kind at the club is worrying.
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City have attempted to bring in cover and an eventual replacement for the former Shakhtar Donetsk man on a number of occasions, as proven by their pursuits of Jorginho, Fred and Frenkie de Jong; all of which proved unsuccessful as they lost out to Chelsea, Manchester United and Barcelona respectively.
In signing Rice, City would be getting a man who knows how to break up the play, frustrate the opposition and also have the technical ability to distribute the ball effectively and consistently to his teammates, as we saw against Montenegro on Monday evening.
Aside from the fact that the 20-year-old is one hell of a footballer, his potential arrival at the Etihad Stadium could see Guardiola kill two birds with one stone.
Currently, City have 16 players who do not qualify as homegrown footballers, with the Premier League’s limit on such being 17 – Guardiola can sign just one more non homegrown to place in his squad before meeting the limit.
Only Raheem Sterling, John Stones, Fabian Delph and Kyle Walker are recognised as homegrown players, a category that Rice also falls into.
By bringing the talented youngster to the club, Guardiola and City won’t have to worry about angering the Premier League by overstepping the homegrown quota, and would see the club add to their line of flourishing English talents such as Phil Foden, Stones, Walker and Sterling.