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Opinion: West Ham’s Diop deal has opened the door for Tottenham to land £9m-rated teenager

The West Ham United fans in the Transfer Tavern were delighted by the news that their club have completed the signing of Issa Diop in a club-record deal from Toulouse, but they are concerned that their acquisition could force Declan Rice out of the club this summer.

The Manuel Pellegrini era is well underway and the Hammers are making strides towards a brighter future with their activity in the transfer market, on the surface at least. West Ham’s decision to splash the cash on Diop suggests that the new manager has identified central defence as an area which is in need of improvement, and that notion could suggest that Rice (valued at £9 million by Transfermarkt) is on his way out of the London Stadium.

The Times recently reported that Rice has turned down a contract extension with the club with just one year left to run on his current deal. Despite being an ever-present under David Moyes, Pellegrini’s arrival has cast some doubt over his future as it seems unclear whether the Chilean manager views him as an integral part of the club’s strategy for the new season.

However, Diop’s arrival appears to have confirmed what the West Ham fans feared most of all: Rice is surplus to requirements under the new regime. If that notion does indeed prove to be the case, Tottenham Hotspur should raid their London-rivals for his signature.

With Toby Alderweireld’s future hanging firmly in the balance, Spurs have been linked with centre-backs from across Europe who could potentially replace him, but Rice could be the answer to a looming problem in North London. At just 19-years-of-age Rice has enormous potential to grow, and his performances for West Ham last season suggest he is already well-equipped technically, mentally and physically to deal with the intensity of the Premier League.

Under a manager of Pochettino’s calibre and experience working alongside young English players, Rice would be perfectly-placed to realise the full extent of his potential and earn some valuable Champions League experience in the process.

On paper, Rice fits the mould at Tottenham and, with contract set to expire in June 2019, he should be available at an attractive price which would undoubtedly appeal to the tight-fisted Daniel Levy, so it’s fair to say that Tottenham have no reason to avoid making an approach for the Hammers’ highly-regarded academy product in light of Diop’s arrival.

West Ham and Tottenham fans – thoughts? Let us know below!

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