This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
Declan Rice has been an integral player for West Ham United this season, starting all seven of their Premier League games.
He has averaged 3.9 tackles, 2.4 interceptions, 0.7 clearances and 0.4 blocks, while also making 1.4 dribbles per game and completing 89% of the passes he attempted during the game, as per WhoScored.
This follows a season in which he started 34 Premier League games for the club, while the 20-year-old is also an England regular, having played in five of his country’s six most recent matches, as per Transfermarkt.
When this is considered, it is pretty incredible that Rice was acquired for free when he was released by Chelsea as a youth player in 2014.
What makes this even more impressive is that pundits such as Noel Whelan are now tipping teams such as Manchester United with moves for him in the coming transfer windows.
“I think Declan Rice could be the next player who goes for a Premier League record fee. We have just seen Harry Maguire go for £80million and I wouldn’t be surprised if Rice goes for more than that, above £90million, even”, he told Football Insider.
“He’s young, English, hugely talented and is such a long way from his peak. You look at a team like Man United, who need a midfield anchorman and you can see it happening.”
Considering the Hammers have broken their transfer record three times in the last two summer transfer windows – on Sebastien Haller, Felipe Anderson and Issa Diop – as reported on the club’s official website, it says a lot about Rice that he is still deemed an indispensable player for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
Whether he is sold or kept on for years to come, he is an incredibly valuable asset for the Hammers, which is made all the better by the fact he was acquired for free.
Is this West Ham's best side of the Premier League era?
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