West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini has suggested every player has his price when referencing the future of Declan Rice amid Manchester City links.
Rice has enjoyed a stellar campaign in east London and received a first England call-up last week after switching allegiances from the Republic of Ireland.
Could Rice join Man City? Five key things to know…
- Since deputising for West Ham in 2017, Rice has established himself as a key member in the club’s starting XI.
- His tackling ability and composure on the ball has seen him likened to Bobby Moore by some West Ham fans.
- Only Wilfred Ndidi (258) has made more recoveries in the Premier League than Rice (249) this season.
- As such, Man City have been linked with Rice, who has been reportedly identified as a potential successor to Fernandinho.
- The Brazilian is essential to City’s style of play, but at 33 he is now entering his final years in top-flight football.
The 20-year-old made his debut last Friday in the Three Lions’ comprehensive 5-0 win over the Czech Republic in a Euro 2020 qualifying match, before following up with a first start in the 5-1 humbling of Montenegro on Monday.
And so, having impressed at both club and international level, the midfield enforcer has caught the attention of some of Europe’s elite clubs.
One such name tipped to make an eventual move for Rice is Pellegrini’s old club, Man City, with Pep Guardiola supposedly in the hunt for a long-term Fernandinho successor.
Rice signed a new five-year deal with the Hammers in December, but Pellegrini has admitted that if the money is sufficient, there will be little he can do to prevent the player from leaving.
“In that case, as always, it is just a matter of price,” Pellegrini said.
“There are big teams who decide to pay an important amount of money: sure, if it is a good deal for the club and the player and improves his career then we can do it. But I don’t know nothing about that yet.”
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‘Rice years above his age’
One of the main aspects of Rice’s game that has impressed Pellegrini so much has been the maturity he has displayed on the pitch, with the Chilean believing his mental fortitude far exceeds his young age.
When quizzed on whether or not he thought Rice’s impressive displays for England came as a shock, Pellegrini said: “Surprised? No.
“I know Declan Rice, I have said before that he is a young player, just 20 years old, but his mind is of an adult player.
“He never feels pressure playing here or with the national squad. I was absolutely sure his level of performance would be exactly the same. He it a top, top player.
“He must continue doing exactly what he is doing now, to work in the same way, have the same mentality. He knows he must improve, that is why he is always listening and learning so as a player, in the way he plays more games with better games of course he will continue improving.”