Manchester City to make Declan Rice bid
According to The Athletic (Subscription Required) [h/t Football.london], Manchester City, along with Manchester United, have been linked with a move for Declan Rice and could make bids in the summer transfer window. This comes as a blow for Chelsea who have been long-term admirers of the midfielder.
The report mentions that Chelsea have other areas to target in their team. And hence, West Ham United’s £100million valuation for the player is said to be a big ask for them. But that is also an argument that could be made for Manchester City, and this is where we try and see why the Cityzens are better off avoiding a bidding war for Rice.
The question of money and depth
The fee being quoted makes you think if Rice is a viable addition to the squad. Yes, there is Fernandinho who could be released from the club but given Rice’s status at West Ham United, who were challenging for European slots this season, it is unlikely he would be happy with a role on the bench.
In this sense, Rice, who plays primarily as a defensive midfielder, would have to compete for starts with Rodri. The former Atletico Madrid man is the trusted defensive midfielder in Pep Guardiola’s team. City met the Spaniard’s £62.8million release clause just two years back when he was touted as Fernandinho’s successor.
And that seems to have been the case. Rodri missed just four league games all season for City as he played just in front of the centre-backs in City’s midfield. And considering Rice played 32 times in the league for the Hammers this season, it is hard to think that he would be happy losing out to Rodri for a starting place.
That being said, City should look for a defensive midfielder considering Fernandinho’s potential departure. But it would be wiser to go after someone who doesn’t threaten a bidding war as Rice could do, with Manchester United and Chelsea also interested. The player should also be willing to be a back-up player.
Citing again the transfer fee that could be required for Rice, it makes more sense for City to first sort out other areas on the pitch. The most notable position that needs strengthening is up front. Sergio Aguero has joined Barcelona after leaving the club as a free agent in the summer.
The Argentine was the club’s all-time record goal-scorer, with 257 goals. Yes, the Citizens won the league this time around, but replacing such a goal-scorer in the team requires work. Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur is one player eyed by the club in the striker department.
And it seems that Guardiola not too trusting of Gabriel Jesus as a potential replacement for the Argentine considering the report of the club offering Jesus as a makeweight in a deal for Kane. The English striker, who won the Golden Boot as well as the Playmaker award, is valued at £150million by the Lilywhites.
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And hence, it is more sensible to spend an 8-figure transfer fee for a position that needs filling. As for the question of a backup defensive midfielder, Ilkay Gundogan can do the job there if required; as Guardiola himself stated the midfielder’s quality playing in that position.
The German midfielder was linked with a move to Barcelona and City have made it clear that they want to keep him.