West Ham United, having won only 5 times in 2020, ended the season with a low end result. Just avoiding relegation, it has been their third milestone in the past 4 seasons. Between the chaos and disappointment of the past few years, however, they have produced a future star on the pitch – and perhaps the key to their relocation.
That player is none other than Declan Rice, the Hammers’ Player of the year for the second consecutive season. The 21-year-old has been in an impressive form for the London club this season and may be on the move in the coming months, with Manchester United one of the top teams to secure his signature. While United already have several options for keeping the midfield with Nemanja Matić, Fred and Scott McTominay, the Rossi are still looking for additions according to reports. A recent report says Rice tops the United list of goals for this summer.
The fruit of Chelsea’s youth academy, Rice left the Blues as a teenager and moved to the capital of West Ham, where he began to make a name for himself. He is an archetypal defensive midfielder, blessed with an intelligent reading of the game, extreme composure and an innate ability to get the ball so that his more attentive attack teammates have the freedom to thrive further on the field.
Nominally a central defender at a youth level, the Englishman has become a substantive midfielder under Manuel Pellegrini, but after honing his defensive skills, it is not surprising that his approach, aggression and position play are like this high level.
With many United fans complaining about Matić’s lackluster displays in the last games of the season, Solskjaer should try to rejuvenate the team with a player who can alternate with Serbian (but still important) aging. Rice would be a good addition to the team for this reason, and also because it can hold two important positions thanks to its versatility. In defense, although Victor Lindelöf has done a reasonable job this season, Rice could also be a defender who could integrate Harry Maguire.
Above all, however, Rice would provide immediate competition and coverage for Matić. Comparing the two, Rice has been tremendously committed to the Hammers this season: making a total of 85 tackles with a 60% success rate and calculating 43 inceptions and 254 steals – showing how good his awareness is. On the other hand, Matić had 46 tackles with a 59% success rate, in addition to 29 interceptions and 183 recoveries. However, it is important to note Matić’s exceptional play on reboot – until the number of games in rapid succession began to pay tribute to his form.
The Serbian six-foot mind and technical experience make him one of the most skilled midfielders in the world, and in that category of players, every box really ticks. This does not mean that Rice cannot be as good as he will be in the future. If signed, in a few years under the wing of Matić, Rice could prove to be one of the best players in Europe. It can be said that Matić will be a dream mentor since Rice can learn a lot from him, in particular how he intelligently protects the defense and starts the attacks from the base of the midfield.
Manchester United should make a move for Rice as it fits exactly the profile of the type of signature that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appreciates, but will face stiff competition. Frank Lampard and co. they are excited to renew the Englishman’s signature this summer, as Chelsea also sees Rice as the perfect player to model in a central defender and help solve their defensive problems.
With the survival of the West Ham Premier League confirmed and the fact that Rice is already an English international who has captained the Hammers this season, there is absolutely no doubt that his move will not be cheap. West Ham chief David Moyes asked questions about Rice’s future saying that “It won’t go anywhere unless you have one of those steel vans that have the money in it. You’d better bring one!“
Manchester United should prepare that van. Declan Rice is worth it.