West Ham United star Declan Rice has been told where ‘he could thrive’ amid reports linking him with a summer move to the likes of Arsenal or Liverpool.
The midfielder has shone for the Hammers over the past couple of seasons as they have battled for spots in the Premier League top six.
But they have suffered a decline this term and find themselves in a battle to avoid relegation. Rice is now looking lively to move on in the summer and he recently admitted that he dreams of playing in the Champions League.
West Ham valued their prized asset at around £150m in the summer of 2021 but he will now cost less than that with his contract due to expire in 2024. They are at least in a decent position as they have the option to extend his deal until 2025.
Rice has been linked with several Premier League clubs in recent weeks. Liverpool have been mentioned as a possible destination as they look to strengthen in midfield.
He previously played for Chelsea so they are naturally an option but Arsenal are said to have identified him as their ‘top target’ ahead of the summer transfer window.
But Tony Cascarino has advised Rice that he may be better off joining Chelsea as he would ensure that they have a ‘great mix of skills’ in midfield.
‘Chelsea is where Rice could thrive and are another team who need a deep midfielder. I see a side that needs balancing — they have amazing wingbacks in Reece James and Ben Chilwell, and Rice would allow them to be aggressive in the final third,’ Cascarino wrote for The Times.
‘I also see, with Rice, a new modification. Alongside Conor Gallagher, who does the running and attacking, Mateo Kovacic, who dribbles well and is smooth in possession, and then Rice, that is a great mix of skills.
‘But Rice would have to decide whether he is willing to miss out on the Champions League next season.’
Cascarino has also talked up a potential transfer to Arsenal, though. He feels that Rice could form a brilliant partnership with Thomas Partey.
‘Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are a great project to join and not only because they are top of the league. Arteta has developed young players exceptionally well. There’s Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard in the attacking midfield area alone,’ Cascarino added.
‘Rice will cover for the weaknesses of others and provide a platform for team-mates to play their best game. He wins the ball and gets it forward quickly.
‘For a team with such quick and direct attacking talent, having someone who reads moments and intercepts the ball and then immediately supplies a team-mate is critical.
‘I imagine Rice would come in to replace Granit Xhaka, which would give Arsenal depth and increase that solidity and protection in midfield.
‘Alongside Partey, that could be the next Patrick Vieira-Gilberto Silva partnership.’
West Ham may benefit from a bidding war with so many clubs seemingly keen to sign Rice.
Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol has predicted that the price for Rice “will be at least £80m” but he feels that the Hammers “would be looking for something like £100m”.
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