Who could replace Declan Rice at West Ham?

Declan Rice
Prag, Tschechische Republik, 08.06.2023: Declan Rice (West Ham United FC) jubelt waehrend des Final-Spiels der UEFA Europa Conference League zwischen AC Florenz vs West Ham United in der Eden Arena am 08. June 2023 in Prag, Tschechische Republik. (Foto von Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images) Prague, Czech Republic, 08.06.2023: Declan Rice (West Ham United FC) celebrate during the UEFA Europa Conference League Final 2022-23 match between ACF Fiorentina v West Ham United FC at Eden Arena on June 8, 2023 in Prague, Czech Republic. (Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images) – Photo by Icon sport

Arsenal continued their ambitious summer transfer splurge this week with the signing of Declan Rice from West Ham in a deal that makes the midfielder the most expensive British footballer of all time.

The Gunners had a series of bids for the 24-year-old rebuffed by West Ham before they eventually broke through the £100m barrier to bring the England international to North London.

The record fee West Ham earned from selling their prized asset and captain will go straight into David Moyes’ transfer kitty, but who will the Hammers’ boss choose as his Declan Rice replacement before August.

Below, we’ve taken a look at some of the candidates to fill Declan Rice’s talented boots at the London Stadium.

Denis Zakaria – Juventus

West Ham have moved swiftly in the market for midfield recruits following their decision to sanction Declan Rice’s switch to Arsenal and the Irons have tabled an offer for Juventus midfielder Denis Zakaria, according to reports in Italy.

The 26-year-old spent last season on loan with West Ham’s London rivals Chelsea last term, though the Swiss international made just five starts in the Premier League for the Blues. Zakaria could be available for around £13m, according to the latest info.

João Palhinha – Fulham

Portuguese anchorman João Palhinha enjoyed a fine maiden campaign in the Premier League with Fulham last season and the ex-Sporting destroyer averaged more tackles per game (4.2) than Declan Rice and every other player in the entire division last term.

The combative midfielder also collected more cards (14) than anyone else however, though West Ham could use his aggression in the middle following Rice’s departure. Fulham would need a mammoth fee to part with one of their talismanic figures, however.

Edson Alvarez – Ajax

Hard-nosed Mexican marauder Edson Alvarez has been a steely presence for the Dutch giants over the past couple of seasons, though the El Tri international is angling for a move to a bigger league this summer and West Ham could provide the 25-year-old with a more sizable platform to shine.

Alvarez averaged 2.3 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game in the Eredivisie last season, though his ball-recovery prowess has also alerted other clubs to his talents, including German outfit Borussia Dortmund, who are believed to be pushing hard to sign him.

James Ward-Prowse
Southampton's James Ward-Prowse applauds the fans after being substituted off during the Premier League match at St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton. Picture date: Sunday May 28, 2023. – Photo by Icon sport

James Ward-Prowse – Southampton

West Ham have been flirting with the idea of making a move for Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse since the Saints’ relegation to the Championship and as an established Premier League performer, the 28-year-old could be a good fit.

Though Ward-Prowse wouldn’t be a like-for-like replacement for Rice, his work rate, eye for a pass and prowess from set pieces would make him a useful alternative. Interestingly, Rice was one of only four players to complete more interceptions than Ward-Prowse in the Premier League last season.

Kalvin Phillips – Manchester City

Kalvin Phillips has been a peripheral figure at Man City since joining the champions from Leeds and with the converted John Stones now ahead of him in the pecking order in midfielder, the 27-year-old’s stock at The Etihad Stadium has never been lower.

David Moyes seems to rate Phillips far more than Pep Guardiola does however, and the Scot is thought to be eager to offer the midfielder a fresh start with the Irons in London. A fee somewhere between £25m and £30m could be enough to tempt City into a deal for the Three Lions man.