By Site Staff
With the closure of the January transfer window, West Ham United fans could have been forgiven for thinking that the endless media speculation surrounding the potential future of England midfielder Declan Rice would die down – at least until the end of the season and the arrival of the summer.
That has not proven to be the case though and former Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United striker, Dimitar Berbatov, has recently become the latest former player to give his thoughts on what the future may hold for the 24 year old former Chelsea Academy graduate.
Given the expected options available to him, trying to predict where he may end up is like trying to browse through newest no deposit bonus offers to find the best one.
Speaking to the media this week, the 42 year old former Bulgarian international, explained that he felt Old Trafford would unlikely be the preferred destination for Rice given the players that they already have in the middle of the park.
United obviously have Casemiro and Christian Eriksen to call on, and with talk of them bringing in a younger midfielder with more of an eye to the future, fellow England international Jude Bellingham is a hot favourite on the rumour mill, and Rice would be in direct competition with Casemiro for a starting spot.
In Berbatov’s mind, it would to reduced minutes and games for Rice and he feels that would put him off a move to United.
“It all comes down to what the manager wants and how he sees the team in his head. Declan and Casemiro play in the same position, but the main difference between them is that one of them is 24-years-old and the other is 30-years-old. One is slowly going towards the end of their career and the other is not even in their prime yet and is producing football of great quality.
“Of course clubs are going to be after Declan Rice and the main thing that Declan will want from a new club is the promise that he’s going to play. If he went to Manchester United then he’s going to want to play, demand to play and he’s not going to want to sit on the bench.
He won’t go to Manchester United if he believes there’s a chance that he may be a back-up to Casemiro.”
With Rice being regularly linked with a ‘top six’ move, from a game time perspective, there are better options for him to consider if he does want to move on over the summer.
And although given Casemiro’s age, United will be looking down the line, but he has easily got another three or more years in him, so again that would imply that United’s interest would really be a non-starter.
And when you add Bruno Fernandes into the mix for them, it is also highly unlikely that Erik ten Hag would blunt their attacking intent by playing two more defensively minded midfielders.
From West Ham’s point of view, this probably suits us as there will be few in the fanbase who would be happy to see Rice move on anyway, so our chances of keeping him do increase if United is not the obvious move to make.
Berbatov added: “It would be strange if Manchester United buy Declan Rice considering that they’ve just bought Casemiro from Real Madrid. The only option you’d have would be to play them at the same time, but if you did that then you’d have to sacrifice another midfielder that plays a more advanced role up the pitch.”
David Moyes would have a massive job on his hands trying to replace Rice given his importance for us, so come the summer we will be hoping there are no genuine suitors.
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