The West Ham United fans in the Transfer Tavern are looking forward to seeing how Manuel Pellegrini’s era will unfold, but a recent report has given them genuine cause for concern about his attitude towards Declan Rice.
Pellegrini has arrived at the London Stadium with a glowing reputation for playing an attacking brand of football which he showcased during his stint as manager of Manchester City. But after watching the Hammers struggle against relegation last season, it’s clear that he is on a mission to oversee a significant overhaul in the personnel of his squad.
With Issa Diop, Lukasz Fabianski and Ryan Fredericks already signed up, West Ham are hoping to conclude another three deals this week for Jack Wilshere, Andriy Yarmolenko and the relatively unknown Fabian Balbuena, according to The Times.
The report claims that Balbuena’s current club Corinthians have confirmed the sale of the 26-year-old centre-back who is due to have a medical at West Ham shortly.
The acquisition of Balbuena will be West Ham’s second centre-back purchase of the window after they brought Diop to the club in a deal worth £22.5 million, and their efforts to rebuild the defensive unit suggests a move away from the club could beckon for Declan Rice.
David Moyes placed plenty of trust in the 19-year-old centre-back last season and the temporary manager’s decision to bestow plenty of responsibility on Rice’s shoulders clearly paid off.
At the heart of West Ham’s defence Rice was willing to throw everything on the line for the club and his determined attitude combined with his natural defensive intelligence played a critical role in the club’s survival bid.
However, uncertain times lie ahead for Rice now that Pellegrini has taken charge at the club. It remains unclear what role he will have to play under the new regime but the fact the Chilean has decided to bring in 2 new defenders will certainly give the fan-favourite genuine cause for concern ahead of the new season.
With competition from Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna, Reece Oxford, Issa Diop and now Balbuena to consider, Rice could find himself surplus to requirements under Pellegrini despite impressing during the last campaign.
And with only 1 year remaining on his current deal at West Ham, there’s no doubt he will have offers to consider from outside the club where he will have stronger guarantees regarding first-team opportunities.
West Ham fans – thoughts? Let us know below!