England ace now ‘at same level’ as Rodri as Sergio Aguero reveals why Man Utd, Chelsea should pursue target

Declan Rice Kalvin Phillips West Ham England 2022 TEAMtalk1 Credit: Alamy
Declan Rice Kalvin Phillips West Ham England 2022 TEAMtalk1 Credit: Alamy

Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero feels midfielder Declan Rice is as good as anyone in Europe as rumours persist of a move away from West Ham United.

Rice, 23, has emerged as one of the top talents in the game over the past few seasons. After making his Hammers debut in May 2017, the hard-working schemer has gone on to make 215 appearances in all competitions. He has enjoyed 182 Premier League outings, scoring seven goals.

But it is his non-stop work off the ball that catches the eye, with an ability to act as a screen in front of the defence.

However the Kingston upon Thames-born star is also comfortable with the ball at his feet.

He is therefore a manager’s dream, and West Ham boss David Moyes knows just how important he is.

It is inevitable that the top clubs will start to circle. Links to United and Chelsea have been doing the rounds for some time.

And Liverpool have also been mentioned in connection with the England ace.

City purchased Rice’s England team-mate Kalvin Phillips in the summer. They have also been linked and it remains to be seen if they try and reunite the duo at club level.

But Aguero feels any outfit that lands Rice will be getting one of the best around.

“For me, he is a great player and is at the same level as the best midfielders like [Sergio] Busquets, Rodri and Casemiro,” he told Stake.

“It seems to me that he is valued. What happens is that with him not being in a big-six team, then he does not get talked about as much.”

Rice tipped to be World Cup star

Rice has played every minute of West Ham’s 15 league games in 2022-2023, scoring once.

He has, again, been outstanding and heads into the World Cup as one of Gareth Southgate’s top players.

Aguero is looking forward to seeing the all-action midfielder play in Qatar. And he believes Rice could lead the Three Lions on a decent run in the Middle East.

“He has proven himself and I think he is one of the main strengths of the England team at the World Cup,” he added.

“I think they have a team to get excited about. They could not win the Euros, but they showed in that tournament that they are a team to be feared.”

Rice departure likely despite eyewatering price tag

Moyes has continually stated that Rice will not be sold for less than £100m. And figures in excess of that number have also been quoted for the Londoner.

The former Republic of Ireland player has hinted that he is keen to try his luck elsewhere at some stage in the future.

He admitted to Sky Sports that Old Trafford is inspiring but is focused on the Hammers and England at present.

Whether Manchester United remain in the hunt is open to question after their summer purchase of Casemiro.

Rice’s current deal runs until the summer of 2024, with the option of another year in the contract.

West Ham would love him to extend his stay. But the fee they would receive for his departure would allow a major rebuild.

READ MORE: Man Utd legend names which summer signing can become ‘a world star’ under Ten Hag guidance

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