Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is lining up West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice as the long-term replacement for Fernandinho, according to the Sun.
And Rice is apparently the only player who has caught his eye on that score, with his reading of the game and his ability to control matches; leading City to line up a bid.
Rice only signed a new West Ham deal late last month – after a protracted contract negotiation – which runs until 2024, but City have the financial clout to buy him out of that and make the player an offer he cannot refuse.
West Ham supporters will not want to lose a player who could develop into a key part of their future, but his new extended deal only really gives the club bargaining power over the transfer fee.
The Hammers did not exactly fill Rice with confidence that they cherish him by dallying so long and playing hardball over his new wage; so if a manager like Guardiola can counter that by telling him he sees him as the heir to a hugely influential player in a team that wants to win the Champions League, Rice would be forgiven for having his head turned.
The situation for the Hammers is a lot brighter than it would have been when Rice’s contract situation was unresolved, but they still could be powerless to stop Rice from leaving, if his heart is set on a big-money move.