'He could leave in January': David James thinks 23-year-old could be off after links with Liverpool
The Reds will seemingly be on the lookout for a new midfield player over the next two transfer windows, with their captain Jordan Henderson coming to the end of his prime years.
Jurgen Klopp has struggled to find a consistent midfield this season after both Thiago Alcantara and Henderson picked up injuries at different points. Fabinho has also been playing below his usual high standards, despite some improved displays before the World Cup.
Now, former Liverpool shot stopper David James thinks the 23-year-old could actually leave West Ham in January, especially if he enjoys a brilliant World Cup.
James thinks Rice could be off after Liverpool links
“West Ham losing Declan Rice would be massive and I think if the club was to sell him for less than the fans expect, then that wouldn’t only lose the club money but it would lose them faith with their supporters,” James told GGRecon.
“West Ham still have plenty of time to make their season a decent one and at this moment in time it’s about keeping the fans on side, and keeping Declan is a big part of that.
“Theoretically, he could leave in January depending on how amazing a World Cup he has. If he’s to leave, then it has to be for market value. I can’t see West Ham selling him for less at all.
“The fan in me just wants him to stay at West Ham for the rest of his career. As a footballer, at the end of your career, you can look back and think whether you’ve made the right decisions during it. The idea of him being a one-club man could hold him in better stead when he’s finished playing football, however, the player side of me believes you need to maximise everything you can get from the game.
“When you have that talent, the idea of him joining somebody like Liverpool and playing in the Champions League means that you can look back at your career knowing that you’ve challenged for, and won major trophies. It all depends on what person you are.
“I’d like to think that he wouldn’t want to force himself out of West Ham. I believe it would come down to an open and realistic conversation and I don’t think West Ham would stand in his way if the opportunity arrives for him to join a Champions League competing team. Whatever happens, I hope it comes down to a negotiation that everybody’s happy with.”
Rice would undoubtedly be a brilliant signing for Liverpool and would become a mainstay in their midfield for years to come.
But the idea that West Ham could allow their star player to leave in the middle of the season seems unrealistic, unless they receive an offer they simply cannot refuse.
Of course, Liverpool have also been linked with his England midfield partner Jude Bellingham, who seems a more desirable option on paper. While Rice is a brilliant player, his profile is similar to that of Fabinho’s, apart from the six-year age gap.
The Reds certainly need to look at reinforcing the midfield area but they may have to prioritise one of either Bellingham or Rice. And at this moment in time, Bellingham offers Klopp something he doesn’t have at Liverpool right now.
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