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A perfect Fernandinho replacement? Pep signing this rising West Ham starlet would be a masterstroke

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Declan Rice

Why Manchester City must go all out for Declan Rice in January

In his column for the Daily Mail, pundit Jamie Redknapp has compared young West Ham midfielder Declan Rice to Manchester City’s Fernandinho, saying the 19-year-old has all the same attributes as the Brazil international.

Declan Rice has been earning rave reviews in the last month or so, improving after a shaky start. He was hauled off at Anfield in Manuel Pellegrini’s first game in charge, as West Ham tasted a chastening a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool. But now he has gone on to become a vital part of the Hammers’ engine room alongside Mark Noble and Pedro Obiang.

The teenager, who was formerly at Chelsea, joined West Ham in 2014 and has been arguably their shining light so far this term. As per the Evening Standard, West Ham have offered Rice a new improved contract but he is no closer to signing the deal.

Looking at Rice’s meteoric rise and impressive performances in the Premier League this season, Manchester City should try signing him when the transfer window reopens.

Declan Rice has played a vital role in West Ham’s resurgence after they lost four games on the spin at the start of the season. The 19-year-old struggled royally in the 4-0 defeat to Liverpool but since then, he has been excellent for the Hammers in a holding midfield role.

The London-born Rice played in central defence for the Hammers last season but Manuel Pellegrini’s idea of using him at the base of the midfield trio has worked wonders so far this term. He put in a brilliant performance in the 3-1 victory over Manchester United at the London stadium, successfully nullifying the threat of Paul Pogba and co.

As far as Manchester City are concerned, they should start looking out for players to replace Fernandinho despite the Brazilian operating at the peak of his powers and showing no signs of slowing down. Fernandinho will turn 34 in May and Pep Guardiola needs to get a long-term replacement for his team’s ageing star.

Fernandinho is the beating heart of Manchester City, the anchorman of the side that dictates the tempo of the game by breaking up the play and providing a base for the attacking players to express themselves freely. Given the importance the Brazilian holds in the team, January could be the right time for Guardiola to get Declan Rice in as the 33-year-old’s replacement.

Like Fernandinho, Rice operates in a similar manner. His excellent game-reading ability and passing range keeps West Ham ticking. He is aggressive in the tackle, strong in the air and never hesitates to stick out a leg to break the opposition’s play. The Irishman can pick out a pass from deep and has a decent turn of pace as well, although he tends to stay more in his position to run the show.

Read more: Why Man City would be better off avoiding this 8-goal Ligue 1 star and improving other areas instead

To put things into perspective, Declan Rice would be a fantastic addition to the Manchester City squad. Due to his attributes, the 19-year-old would be the perfect long-term replacement for Fernandinho.