West Ham could face a difficult battle to keep England star Declan Rice on their books past the summer transfer window, and as rumours of interest in the midfielder continue to build, the club are beginning to be linked with potential replacements.
However, with the potential departure of Manuel Lanzini – and Mark Noble leaving at the end of the season, the Hammers are likely going to be lighter than ever in the midfield area, and manager David Moyes might be too motivated to keep Rice in that scenario.
In the event that the 23-year-old stays at the club for next season, the Europa League quarter-finalists will still be looking to sign someone in place of at least Lanzini, and Leeds fan-favourite Kalvin Phillips could be the perfect replacement for the Argentinean.
The report also stated that the Irons are willing to offer an “enormous” salary to lure the 19-time England international to the London Stadium, after failing to do that back in January.
Despite being born in Leeds and reportedly wanting a new contract at his boyhood club, European football and increased wages could prise the star away from his current club, along with the possibility of playing alongside two of the Premier League’s best in his position.
If Rice does stay, with Tomas Soucek and Phillips either side of him, West Ham could have one of the best midfields in the entire country next campaign, and it would be incredibly difficult to establish control against them.
Having been injured since December, the 26-year-old has made just 12 starts in the Premier League this season, averaging a 6.80 match rating according to SofaScore.
However, no midfielder in the last year in Europe’s top five leagues and continental competitions has averaged more pressures per 90 (29.64) according to FBRef, with him also being in the top 1% for successful pressures per 90 with 9.14.
The £36m-rated gem also ranks in the top 7% for ball recoveries per 90 (12.21), top 3% for blocks per 90 (2.44) and top 7% for long passes completed per 90 (14.08). With that in mind, it’s clear to see why the midfielder was described as a “destroyer” by Steve McLaren.
The statistics prove that Phillips is an elite midfielder for a high intensity, forward-thinking system, and he would become a fan favourite with the Hammers in no-time.