Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have lauded West Ham star Declan Rice, but both men suggested on Sky Sports (broadcast on 16/9 from 22:00) that they would be wary of seeing Manchester United or Liverpool paying over the odds for the England international.
Rice continues to be considered one of the country’s most exciting talents. He has started this season in fine form with West Ham, and now has a handful of England caps under his belt.
It appears that a large section of the Hammers supporters feel that a battle to keep the 20-year-old in the near future is inevitable. The Sun recently reported that Manchester United are interested in the youngster. And it would not be a surprise to see a number of other sides join them in the running.
But when asked about the prospect of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men making a move to sign Rice, Neville suggested that he has his reservations.
“It’s going to cost a fortune. Would I say yes now to £80-£90 million? I’m not feeling that personally. But am I seeing a really good player who can potentially develop into something fantastic for the next 10 years? Yes, I really do think that,” he told Sky Sports when asked about Rice potentially replacing Nemanja Matic at Old Trafford.
And when asked about whether he would have a role to play at Liverpool, Carragher expressed similar doubts. But he did suggest that he may be ideal for Manchester United.
“I wouldn’t pay £90 million for a holding midfield player. Do I think Declan Rice is of the quality where eventually – whether it’s in 18 or 12 months time – he’s going to play for a team in the Champions League? I think he can,” he said.
“If I was a top four team and I was in Manchester United’s position, I’d have Declan Rice in that holding midfield role. I wouldn’t pay £90 million for him. But if you’re talking £50 million, you might have to pay a little bit more, I think he can do a job for a Champions League team.”
With Rice continuing to develop and impress, it does look to be a matter of time before West Ham face a significant battle to keep him at the club.
He has been outstanding in the Irons’s first-team. It is easy to forget how young he is as he is so important to West Ham’s side. Rice is also doing a fantastic job of staking a claim for a regular spot in the England starting lineup.
The Hammers would be forgiven for wanting significantly more than the £50 million that Carragher mentions. He clearly has the potential to be worth a lot more in the near future.
You can understand why Neville and Carragher believe that he needs to prove himself further if he wants to be considered a £90 million-rated player. But the signs suggest that he does have the ability to get to that level.