BBC pundit Danny Mills has suggested that Manchester City could agree on some kind of deal with fellow Premier League rivals West Ham for the signing of Declan Rice this summer after a ‘bizarre’ new contract development.
The Lowdown: Midfield duo set to depart
It was reported by the Daily Mail earlier this week that Ilkay Gundogan has been told by the Sky Blues hierarchy that he is free to leave the club at the end of the season despite still having just over one year remaining on his current contract.
Cityzens captain Fernandinho has also recently announced that he will be departing the Etihad upon the expiration of his contract, which will leave Pep Guardiola a little bit light in the midfield area heading into next season.
Irons star Rice is someone who the Manchester outfit have been linked with for a while now, and as a result of their maestro being in high demand, the Hammers offered him a new eight-year deal to try and keep him at the London Stadium.
However, it’s claimed that this massive offer has been turned down by the player, causing even more speculation about where his future might lie.
The Latest: An ideal replacement
Mills believes that the City boss will already have someone lined up to replace the departing duo and thinks that it could well be Rice he’s set his sights on.
He told Football Insider: “Declan Rice would be the obvious one for that.
“You would presume he’s turned down that bizarre eight-year contract from West Ham.
“City’s recruitment is usually pretty good. They will have known for a while that Fernandinho was going to leave, especially with his age. Gundogan, likewise.
“I don’t think there are too many youngsters coming through in that position. They’ve got a lot of attacking talent in that number 10 role.
“So it wouldn’t surprise me if they’ve got somebody lined up. You don’t tend to hear too much about their transfer business and then it’s done.
“It’s like Haaland, we were all assuming and then he signed one week and it was done. They’re good at keeping their business quiet until it’s announced.
“If it’s not Rice it could easily be someone else from abroad that they’ve got their eye on and think will fit into what they do.”
The Verdict: One for the future
If it does turn out to be the 29-cap international that City are after, he could prove to be a great signing for them in the long-term, especially considering that he’s only 23 years old and is already dominating on the domestic, European and international stage.
Rice, called ‘incomparable‘ by David Moyes, has yet again been a standout performer for West Ham this season, where he’s averaged 2.1 tackles, 1.7 interceptions, and 1.3 clearances per top-flight 90 minutes, via WhoScored, showing the grit and determination he constantly has to win the ball back for his side.
Man City are on course to get their hands on yet another Premier League trophy this Sunday if they manage to secure a victory against Aston Villa, and if winning plenty of silverware is something that Rice wants to achieve in the imminent years of his career, then the Etihad might just be the perfect next destination.
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