Liverpool amongst PL clubs chasing 22-year-old Englishman for a transfer next year – the right move by Klopp?

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice celebrates after scoring. (Getty Images)
West Ham midfielder Declan Rice celebrates after scoring. (Getty Images)

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Liverpool linked with transfer move for Declan Rice

According to transfer news from (h/t Liverpool Echo), Liverpool are one of the clubs interested in a deal for Declan Rice next year. The West Ham United midfielder is in demand and is courting interest from Chelsea, Manchester United, and Man City as well. His contract currently expires in 2024.

The report adds that the Hammers are looking to offer him a new deal as well, but the 22-year-old England international could push for a move away from the London Stadium next year. Rice started out his career at Chelsea’s youth academy but has been with West Ham since 2013. But is he a player that Jurgen Klopp needs at Liverpool?

A deal for Declan Rice doesn’t make sense for Liverpool

Rice is a talented midfielder. He has shown that at West Ham, where he impressed to such an extent that he was selected by Gareth Southgate to play alongside Kalvin Phillips in England’s midfield for the 2020 UEFA Euros. But Liverpool, usually playing a 4-3-3 formation under Klopp, have one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League.

Declan Rice (Getty Images)
Declan Rice has been a consistent performer for West Ham in the past few seasons. (Getty Images)

Fabinho Tavares is a highly important part of the German manager’s midfield. The Brazilian international, who has been versatile enough to play as a right-back and a centre-back earlier in his career, has been an ever-present player when fit and available for Liverpool, missing just 26 games due to injury since joining in 2018. At 27, he is still very much in his prime.

So, signing Rice just to potentially bench him behind Fabinho doesn’t make sense. The 22-year-old, given his rising stature, would command a more prominent role than being just a benchwarmer. As for the Reds, they could do with focusing on other positions on the pitch. After all, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara can also play as a number 6 if and when Fabinho has to sit out.

The financial aspect

Having a player like Rice in the team, even as a backup player, is not a bad situation for any team in the world. The one factor that might come into play, however, is the finances involved in any potential deal. Rice was valued by the Hammers at an astonishing £100million– a price tag that stopped him from leaving the club.

Declan Rice in action against Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool.
Declan Rice in action against Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool. (GETTY Images)

With the defensive midfielder tied up until 2024 at West Ham, and a new contract potentially in the works, the London-based club won’t be in any urgency to sell considering they don’t risk losing him on a free transfer any time soon. Instead of splurging cash on fees and wages for Rice, the Reds can streamline that money elsewhere.

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A central midfielder – one that plays in a more advanced role than a number 6 – would be worth looking at after Geroginio Wijnaldum’s exit. And perhaps a winger or a striker to supplement the slowly ageing Liverpool frontline would go a long way in strengthening the squad. But if the chance arises to sign Rice, Klopp should back out.