Who could West Ham’s Rice replacement be following Guardiola’s “admiration?”

Declan Rice, West Ham. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Declan Rice, West Ham. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) /
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Yves Bissouma, Brighton and Hove Albion.
Yves Bissouma, Brighton and Hove Albion. (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images) /

Yves Bissouma

Bissouma has been one of the most underrated midfielders in the Premier League this year and Malian international has cemented himself in Brighton’s starting XI. The 24-year-old has been a crucial part in Albion’s fight against relegation and he has really stepped up to the mark this season.

Bissouma’s numbers this season really show how crucial he has been, with the Malian making an average of 2.8 tackles and 1.4 interceptions per game according to WhoScored. When compared with Rice’s average stats of 1.9 tackles and 1.9 interceptions per game, it shows how good a season the player is having.

Brighton’s number 8 hasn’t just been defensively brilliant this season as Bissouma has showcased his threat from distance twice this campaign, with two wonder goals against Everton and Blackpool respectively.

The Malian seems to be an ideal replacement for Rice if he was to depart, and he would seemingly be in their price range with ESPN saying Brighton would want around £30 million for their midfield maestro. Brighton’s asking price might yet be lowered in the summer as the Seagull’s are currently only out of the relegation zone on goal difference.

If Graham Potters side do go down then so will their asking price and with the money from a potential Rice sale, the Hammers would easily have the cash to fund the move.

Even better than this, it seems as if Brighton have prepared for the loss of Bissouma as they have signed what looks to be his replacement in the form of highly-rated Ecuadorian youngster, Moises Caicedo from Independiente del Valle.

Unfortunately for West Ham, Bissouma’s great form hasn’t gone unnoticed and it has attracted interest from both Liverpool and Arsenal, as both sides look to revamp their struggling midfields. This could prove to be a problem for West Ham as if Arsenal or Liverpool do decide to follow up on their interest with offers, then it will be hard for them to compete.

If West Ham want to keep improving as a club then they would do well to get a deal done for the Brighton ace this summer, even if Rice doesn’t depart the London Stadium so that they have a replacement primed and ready is the day does come for the 21-year-old to move on.