Speculation surrounding the potential future of England and West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice has certainly stepped up in recent days.
With owner David Sullivan previously admitting that our 24 year old skipper was “99%” likely to leave the London Stadium this summer having led us to Europa League winning success over Fiorentina at the end of last season, Arsenal and manager Mikel Arteta were quickly installed as favourites for the winner of his signature.
However, despite offering up to £90 million in total so far, they have had three bids rejected and in more recent days Pep Guardiola and his expensively assembled Manchester City side have come more into the fray.
With no real decisions yet to be made, as we first have to accept an agreeable offer from somebody, former England international goalkeeper David James feels that out of the two clubs so far mentioned as having a real interest in him, in some ways the player himself has a no brainer of a choice to make when he thinks of his wider career and the kind of playing legacy he would no doubt want to look back on long after he has finally hung up his playing boots.
Speaking to BBC Radio Five Live’s Football Daily Podcast, James explained.
“If you’re Rice, you have just won a European trophy, would you go to Arsenal who haven’t won anything or City who will probably win a lot more? Rice going to City is definitely more alluring. He’s already a hero so doesn’t need to go and be one somewhere else that he is not going to win anything. People mention about Kalvin Phillips not playing – but Phillips and Rice were the engine for England’s near success at the Euros. If Pep Guardiola puts those two together, they would challenge any midfield in Europe.”
From our perspective of course, two clubs vying for his signature gets us a better chance of a more fruitful fee and certainly more fruitful payment terms that mean we can more quickly reinvest in David Moyes first team squad as we look to build on our own European success, and get better back on track in the Premier League after last seasons struggles.
Whilst losing Rice will be a blow, we just have to hope the deal goes through with someone sooner rather than later so we can get who we want in as quickly as possible to help them settle, and better hit the ground running when real football returns in what will turn out to be a very quick short series of weeks.
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