However, their chances of signing him took a hit when the Yorkshire side maintained their Premier League status on the final day and it would seemingly take a huge bid to bring him to the London Stadium this summer.
While fans might have been hoping to see Rice and Phillips play together, as they did so successfully for England at the European Championships last summer, it seems unlikely that the Hammers will be able to keep Rice at the club for his whole career.
Fortunately for David Moyes, the club may already have a ready-made replacement for Rice in Conor Coventry.
The academy graduate has captained various West Ham youth sides and has experience out on loan with Peterborough in the Championship and MK Dons and Lincoln City in League One.
Last season was his most successful loan yet, as the 22-year-old helped MK Dons earn a spot in the playoff positions, making 22 appearances for Liam Manning’s side, in which he contributed one goal and one assist, averaging an impressive 6.8 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
The Athletic’s Roshane Thomas was full of praise for Coventry in 2020, saying:
“Conor Coventry’s an exciting talent. He’s definitely someone Moyes is aware of.”
After a strong spell in League One last season, another year of regular football in the Championship could be exactly what Coventry needs before he can start to establish himself in Moyes’ first-team squad.
Although the club would receive a significant amount if Rice were to leave and fans might expect a big-money signing as his replacement, Coventry stood out in a strong MK Dons side next season as one of their best tacklers, dribblers and passers, which suggests that he has the attributes to replace Rice in the future, so he deserves a chance to show what he can do.
And, in other news… West Ham should seal move for PL gem, Moyes needs him