The Manchester City fans in the Transfer Tavern have been delighted with the way in which Pep Guardiola has allowed a handful of young players to develop at the Etihad since he took charge of the club, and recent reports suggest West Ham could pave the way for him to begin another exciting project.
Whatever your opinion on Raheem Sterling is, there is simply no doubt that he has blossomed into a fine Premier League footballer under the watchful eye of Guardiola. Videos from City’s training ground have illuminated the meticulous one-to-one guidance the Spaniard has offered to Sterling and the results of his work are clear to see by taking a quick glance at his record in the past two seasons.
The likes of Leroy Sane, Phil Foden and John Stones have all stepped up a level under Guardiola and silenced his doubters who have labelled him a chequebook manager since he took charge at the club.
Although the City supporters would understandably prefer to see Guardiola nurture more players from the club’s academy system in the years to come, there is reason to suggest that he should raid a Premier League rival to secure the signature of a player who could go from strength to strength under his leadership, namely Declan Rice of West Ham United.
Despite enjoying a mightily impressive debut campaign as a senior player at the London Stadium, Rice’s future looks rather precarious in the light of Manuel Pellegrini’s appointment.
With centre-back Issa Diop already added to the squad, West Ham are closing in on another defensive acquisition as Corinthians have confirmed the sale of Fabian Balbuena to the Hammers, according to The Times.
The arrival of the Paraguay international along with the presence of Diop, Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna and Reece Oxford could make Rice surplus to requirements through no fault of his own.
If Pellegrini fails to recognise his potential and give him a key role within West Ham’s upcoming campaign then his loss could be Guardiola’s gain.
With Vincent Kompany edging closer to retirement there’s no doubt that another injury setback could leave City with a place to be filled in their squad, and Rice is a perfect candidate to slot into his place.
Under a manger of Guardiola’s expertise and whilst playing alongside the likes of John Stones and Aymeric Laporte, Rice would have a perfect opportunity to develop into a fantastic ball-playing centre-back in the years to come, so it’s a move which would certainly be in the best interests of both the player and the club.
Now that Rice only has 1 year remaining on his current deal he will have a big decision to make this summer, but with a fresh offer already rejected and Pellegrini’s inroads in the transfer market hinting at a potential departure, it’s time for Guardiola to respond by bringing his next development project to Manchester in a cut-price deal.
Man City fans – thoughts? Let us know below!