According to a recent report by Manchester Evening News, Manchester City are plotting a move to secure the signature of West Ham United defender Declan Rice. The same report has also revealed that the Citizens are keeping tabs on the Republic of Ireland prospect and has identified him as an ideal long-term replacement for Fernandinho.
The 19-year-old centre-back has been able to adapt to a new role under Manuel Pellegrini this season. He has often been deployed as a makeshift defensive midfielder, where he has built his reputation for being a reliable option who can shield the Hammers backline by making some crucial interceptions at the centre of the park.
Rice has put in some eye-catching displays for the East London outfit during the course of this campaign. He has made a total of 22 appearances for Pellegrini’s side this term and has one assist and one goal to his name across all competitions. His goal today against Arsenal deserves special mention.
The London-born wonderkid used to play for the Chelsea Academy before he made a switch to West Ham in the summer of 2013. Since then, he has managed to work his way up the youth ranks of the Hammers before finally managing to establish himself as a first-team starter under Pellegrini.
Rice is a powerhouse in defence who knows how to make timely interceptions and is also not afraid to play the ball out of the back. He will be a good fit for Pep Guardiola’s system at the Etihad Stadium, and at 19, the West Ham midfielder still has a lot of time to develop and take his game to the next level.
The Republic of Ireland starlet will be the perfect replacement for Fernandinho who is currently going through the twilight years of his career. Rice is not fazed by pressure and might go that extra mile for City if the club is in with a chance of winning some silverware.
Moreover, he will not only be a big part of Guardiola’s midfield, but his versatility of playing in multiple positions means that he could be moved around like a chess piece if Guardiola decides to change things tactically during a game or if the Spaniard uses him as a cover for injured players in another position.
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