Premier League giants battle for £90m-rated Rice

Premier League giants battle for £90m-rated Rice
Demi D'Cunha

Which club will win the race for Rice?

Manchester City have entered the race for West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice, according to the Times. Pep Guardiola has made the defensive-midfield position a priority as club captain Fernandinho is unsure whether to extend his stay at the Etihad Stadium. The 36-year-old has been offered a one-year contract extension and the Manchester side have identified Rice as a potential long-term replacement. However, Premier League rivals Manchester United and Chelsea are also keen on signing the England international, who is valued at close to £100 million by West Ham.


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Paper Round’s view: There’s not doubting that Rice is a massive talent, but his valuation is outrageous. Obviously some part is done by West Ham to deter bids from these kind of clubs, but we have seen young English footballers move for huge transfer fees in recent years. Rice is only 22 years old and has shown that he is more than capable of leading a Premier League midfield. He could be an ideal replacement for Fernandinho, but Manchester City already have Rodri in their ranks. There’s no need for the league leaders to shell out a huge fee for Rice, when they could just sign a squad player for half the price.

Man City eye Brighton midfielder

Contrastingly, the Star report that Manchester City have decided against joining the bidding war for Declan Rice, and will instead look to sign Yves Bissouma from Brighton. City boss Pep Guardiola is said to be “confident” of winning the race to sign the 24-year-old, who is also wanted by Arsenal, Everton, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur this summer. Brighton are looking to sell Bissouma for at least £30 million after signing him for £15 million from Lille in 2018.

Paper Round’s view: Now this is a signing that makes more sense. Manchester City don’t need to go out and spend close to £100 million on a defensive midfielder when they’ve already got Rodri. Fernandinho is obviously a massively important player for the Premier League leaders – especially with his leadership and experience – but the City captain has only made 19 appearances in the Premier League so far this season. Bissouma could come in as a rotational option in the squad at a much cheaper fee than what Rice would cost.

Memphis spotted house hunting as transfer battle heats up – Euro Papers

Aguero to return to Spain?

Sergio Aguero could return to La Liga at the end of the season and has reportedly opened talks with Barcelona over a summer move. The Argentine’s 10-year stay at Manchester City is set to come to an end as his deal reaches its expiration date this summer after the Premier League club decided against offering Aguero a contract extension. The Catalan club believe signing Aguero could convince compatriot Lionel Messi to sign a new contract at the Camp Nou. Barcelona are also interested in signing Aguero’s current teammate Eric Garcia and Lyon’s Memphis Depay, who are both available for free as well.

Paper Round’s view: It seems baffling that Barcelona allowed Luis Suarez to leave and join a domestic rival in Atletico Madrid… only to target Aguero less than a year later. The Manchester City star is one of the most lethal strikers of his generation, but his injury problems are catching up on him. Aguero has been limited to just 10 Premier League appearances this season, so Barcelona shouldn’t expect to heavily rely on him. However, the 32-year-old is available for free and the Spanish club are low on cash so it’s probably worth the risk if he can be signed a two-year contract.

Chelsea draw up transfer plans

Chelsea are ready to offload a number of first-team players to raise summer transfer funds, according to Goal. The Blues squad is currently bloated and the report states that either Marcos Alonso or Emerson Palmieri will depart Stamford Bridge this summer. Fikayo Tomori is also expected to join AC Milan after joining the Italians on loan in January. Elsewhere, striking duo Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud will be allowed to leave the club as Chelsea look to raise the money to sign a new striker. The London club are targeting wonderkid Erling Haaland or a spectacular Stamford Bridge return for Romelu Lukaku.

Paper Round’s view: Chelsea are proving themselves as a hugely ambitious club. The Blues spent big last summer bringing in the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and Edouard Mendy… and now they’re ready to go again. Haaland and Lukaku are two of the best strikers in world football and signing either one would definitely turn Chelsea into a force. There is genuinely no need to hang on to any of the players listed. Thomas Tuchel’s squad is very heavy, so it would make sense to sell a few stars this summer to raise funds.


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