David Moyes must not go all-in on Lewis Ferguson after Frank McAvennie backed Aberdeen’s “energetic” gem to replace rumoured Chelsea target Declan Rice at West Ham United.
While speaking with Football Insider, Hammers icon McAvennie proposed Ferguson could do it all at the London Stadium should Moyes look north of the border in search of a potential replacement for Rice.
The former Celtic striker believes Ferguson would be the “ideal” option to provide a box-to-box presence in the capital should Rice depart for Stamford Bridge, with Frank Lampard again keen on a deal for the England international after falling short this summer.
Chelsea spent £224.9m on transfers in the last market with the arrivals of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech, but remain eager to lure Rice back to the club he trained with as a youth to offer Lampard a key holding midfielder.
Ferguson is understood to be a former target of Scottish powerhouse duo Rangers and Celtic after an impressive 2019/20 campaign that saw the 21-year-old named as the SFWA’s Young Player of the Season, and has begun the new term strongly with eight goals and two assists in 12 Premiership appearances.
McAvennie seems to believe the sky is the limit for the Scotland U21 international, who he trusts to make a successful switch to Premier League football.
“I would love to see him at West Ham because he is a fantastic player,” he said. “I do not want Declan Rice to leave but, if he was, I think Ferguson would be the ideal replacement [as] I think the boy Ferguson is ready for the Premier League.
“He is only young, and he is a good, tidy player. It is an eye-opener going to England, but it would only benefit him. Lewis could fill his space. It is like for like. He is a young, energetic player who keeps the ball well, can tackle and he can get forward and score goals.”
While McAvennie believes Ferguson would be a like-for-like swap for Rice, the Aberdeen man would be a massive downgrade for Moyes, who has called on his England international as one of just three outfield West Ham players to feature for all 720 minutes of Premier League football this season.
Going from a player like Rice – who the Hammers valued at £80m this summer – to Ferguson – who TransferMarkt value at £1.35m – would cause uproar in east London, while depriving Moyes of a midfielder Jamie Carragher believes is fast becoming one of the first names on Gareth Southgate’s England team sheet.
“We were talking about Phil Foden before and maybe Mason Mount nailing down a position, or Jack Grealish. It almost feels like Declan Rice has,” he told Sky Sports during their post-match coverage of the Three Lions’ 4-0 win over Iceland (18/11, 22:04).
“He plays every game now for England, so we talk about who are the first names on the team sheet, it almost looks for the manager, he is one of them. I’m a big fan of Declan Rice. When he plays in that central midfield position, I don’t think he gets enough credit for his passing ability.”
Rice was one of England’s standout players against Iceland, with the 21-year-old recording 101 touches, 85 accurate passes, won three of five aerial duels, took two shots and played two key balls, per SofaScore.
He is currently averaging 62.5 touches, 42.8 accurate passes, 2.5 interceptions, 1.8 tackles, 0.6 key balls and 4.6 duels won (49%) per match in the Premier League this season, too.