The 20-year-old made his debut against Burnley on the final day of the 2016/17 season, but this season under Manuel Pellegrini he’s proving his potential. He’s now made over 48 appearances for The Hammers and recently signed a five-and-a-half-year deal, but should he be looking to further his career away from the London Stadium.
Here are a few options…
Stay at West Ham
West Ham sit in 12thafter what fans regard as a positive start to the season, helped by the attacking football brought by ex-City boss Pellegrini. Their draw against Liverpool on Monday night was another example of how The Hammers look calm under pressure and play the ball to feet, a far cry from what West Ham fans have endured in previous seasons.
This environment is one an already-assured Rice can thrive in to ply his trade as a first-choice central midfielder. At the age of 20, he should be in no rush to join one of the Premier League’s big six where his chances at a first-team spot would be restricted.
The London lad still has a lot to learn at this level and leaving too early could stagnate his career, so certainly while West Ham are playing attractive football and heading in the right direction staying put doesn’t seem a bad idea.
Join one of London’s big boys
Spurs sold Mousa Dembele in January and have a thinner squad than the likes of the Manchester clubs or Chelsea. Their summer could be quite tumultuous to say the least with Mauricio Pochettino and the club’s big stars being linked elsewhere.
If Daniel Levy was to dip his hands into his pocket, there could be an opportunity for Rice to forge his way into a Tottenham side playing Champions League football with or without their current manager. Despite their inconsistent form, Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri will be more likely to still be at his job come the start of next season.
The football Sarri is trying to implement at Stamford Bridge is similar to the styles of Pellegrini and Pep Guardiola, and spending time under his wing would certainly develop Rice. However, With Jorginho and Kante already at the club, a move to Chelsea could mirror Danny Drinkwater’s regretful one.
Move up North
Manchester United’s £50m signing of Fred hasn’t had the success many thought it would, and fans still believe the squad needs a refresh in the summer, whoever the manager may be. The opportunity to play for the most successful club in English history will, of course, be an attraction for Rice, alongside the inevitable huge wage, but the uncertainty around the club could be a turn-off.
The obvious worry about playing time is present with the option of the two Manchester clubs too, but City may have a Declan Rice-sized midfield hole left by Fernandinho. The Brazilian has been the key cog in Guardiola’s system since his arrival but he’s 34-years-old it’s no secret the Blues’ hierarchy will surely be hunting down a new midfield general.
Rice’s age could also mean moving 200 miles away from his London home may be a drawback to a transfer up north, so depending on his personality it may be best for him to stay put.
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