Declan Rice has excelled for West Ham this season, but a move for Liverpool looks unlikely, despite reports.
The England midfielder has excelled as part of a midfield pivot with Thomas Soucek for the Hammers this season. Rice has been linked with Chelsea and Liverpool, but a move to the red half of Merseyside looks unlikely. This is not at all due to the quality of the player. If anything, his statistics fit for a team in the style of Liverpool.
An energetic presser, he is actually posting higher pressures per 90 than Liverpool’s skipper Jordan Henderson. He’s also an efficient recycler of the ball as well, with an 85% pass accuracy. On the face of it, he’d be the right kind of player to come into Jurgen Klopp’s midfield. However, a move at this point could come too soon for the Reds. The first issue, as with any transfer is cost.
Young, talented English players are up there with the most expensive in the Premier League market. West Ham are well aware of this and are reportedly asking for a figure of around £80 million for Rice’s services. This for Liverpool would be far too steep a price for a player with no Champions League experience, who would be expected to go straight into the starting XI. Aligned to this is how Liverpool should allocate their resources.
Liverpool are in dire need of a central defender and that’s where they’ll be first allocating resources. Now, while Declan Rice can and has played at centre-back, Liverpool would be looking for someone in a different mold. The most important quality for the Reds in their current system is pace, particularly at centre-half. Rice for all his qualities, does not boast the recovery pace of the likes of Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk. The price tag is also an issue here.
Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahim Konate, two defenders of similar age, but with more European experience are reportedly available for just over £40 million. Given they’re specialists in the position as well as being available for a lower price, it’d be a strange decision to sign Rice over them. Then, of course, there’s the issue of his place in the team.
Liverpool already possesses two of the best defensive midfielders in the division in Jordan Henderson and Fabinho. Henderson at 30 and Fabinho at 27 still have a few years at the top of their game. Bringing in Rice would of course provide greater depth, but it’d be a luxury signing at best. Gini Wijnaldum is looking likely to leave the Reds, but is a completely different profile to Rice.
The young Englishman will no doubt get a move to one of the Premier League’s giants. He’s too good to remain absent from the Champions League for too long. However, a move to Anfield, given the circumstances looks unlikely.