Chelsea target Declan Rice has been told that he would perform better in defence instead of midfield amid talks of the Blues reigniting their interest in the West Ham player next summer.
Rice, 22, was priced out of a move in the summer transfer window that has just passed, with the Hammers demanding in excess of £100million to release their most prized asset.
Instead, the Blues opted to go for the safer option of loaning Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez for the season and football.london understands that the west Londoners have a £30million buy option at the end of the loan period.
This hasn’t stopped the Rice hype from a large proportion of the Chelsea fanbase who are keen to see Mason Mount reunited with his best friend for the next campaign.
Marina Granovskaia is looking to sign the Englishmen as a midfielder but if Graeme Souness’s verdict is anything to go by then the Champions League winners may have to re-examine their plan ahead of the 2022 summer transfer window.
Speaking on Sky Sports in the build-up to West Ham’s Premier League clash against Manchester United, Souness said: “He’s a seasoned pro already, he’s got great energy levels, he’s an athlete and he senses danger.
“When it’s going forward and it’s about delivering cute passes I think he’s a wee bit short on that. Will he get that? We’ll have to wait and see.
“I see him maybe ultimately being a defender, the modern central defender has to be good on the ball under pressure and deliver passes, he can certainly do that.
“In midfield I understand he’s learning that game in there it’ll be a terrible waste if he wasn’t using what God gave him and that’s the tremendous athleticism. In terms of being that top, top player I’m not sure.”
He then went on to add as to whether the 22-year-old would suit Man United or not: ” I think he would [improve United’s midfield] I think Declan has improved more than any player I’ve seen over the last one or two seasons.
“I know he’s been linked with United. If you said to me a year or two again I’d of said no, let him stay a year or two to mature.
“He’s 22 and I look to where I was, I think he’s way ahead of me when I was 22. I think the next step will come to him when he plays a higher level and when I say higher level I mean for Man United, Champions League, competing for trophies.
“He’s obviously a regular for England, big pluses for him is there’s a lot more to come from him.”
It has been reported that the west London outfit are likely to try again in January for Jules Kounde meaning the chances of Rice being signed to play as a centre-back are slim.
From the east Londoners’ perspective, football.london understands that West Ham have never received a bid for Rice and would not welcome one.
The midfielder is understood to be happy at the club and on a long-term deal that does not expire until 2024 with the club holding an option to extend for a further 12 months.
He featured in Sunday’s 2-1 home defeat to Cristiano Ronaldo and Man United.
Source by Football London