How to solve a problem like Declan Rice is a question West Ham (and possibly David Moyes) will have to contend with very soon.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are allegedly the front runners for the Hammers captain’s signature during the next transfer window. Anyone who witnessed the no-contest Premier League game at the Etihad Stadium this week will be fully aware of just how desperately the Gunners need Declan.
In what was dubbed as the ‘title decider’, Arsenal capitulated under the might of Manchester City, and fully exposed their need to sign top class reinforcements whatever the cost.
This of course will be bad news for West Ham United and create a double edged midfield problem, a conundrum which I believe will require two players.
Whilst Declan Rice has started to form an impressive midfield partnership with £50 million Brazilian Lucas Paqueta, he has also masked the deficiencies in Tomas Soucek’s game. Rice excels at passing, tackling, heading, dribbling, interceptions and general reading of the game which allows Souček to just concentrate on workhorse duties.
Put simply I believe West Ham will have to replace both positions if we are to truly answer the question of how to solve a problem like Declan Rice?
Just playing the Czech star next to Flynn Downes is not going to work because neither has the long passing range or dribbling abilities.
My choice would be to use Downes in the holding role and purchase a high energy long-range passer of the ball in a partnership which would compliment Lucas Paqueta’s qualities.
West Ham can often look woefully slow, and a fast player in central midfield would perk things up massively.
How the Hammers spend the Declan Rice money is going to be pivotal.