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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Franck Kessie, AC Milan.
Franck Kessie, AC Milan. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images) /

Franck Kessie

The last player on the list is AC Milan’s 24-year-old midfielder, Franck Kessie. The Ivorian powerhouse has had a terrific season in Serie A this year and has been a stand out performer in a Milan side that are battling for the league title.

The Hammers have been linked with Kessie before in 2019 by ExWHUemployee and it was said that ex-manager Manuel Pellegrini was keen on bringing the Milan midfielder to the London Stadium. However, a move never materialised and Kessie stayed at Milan and continued to develop as a player which seems to be paying off big time for the 24-year-old.

Kessie is having a fantastic season as AC Milan battle with local rivals Inter Milan, to end Juventus’ nine-year dominance in the league. Kessie has played a crucial part in his side fortunes this season with the player scoring 9 goals from midfield this season, according to TransferMarkt.

The Ivorian international hasn’t been shying away from his defensive duties either as Kessie has an average at 1.4 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 1.3 clearances per game according to WhoScored. The former Atalanta player has turned himself into a real energetic, box-to-box midfielder who loves a tackle. Kessie also possesses incredible strength and is a real bulldozer in the middle of the park.

The Milan ace looks to be another ideal replacement for Rice if he was to leave, as he has all the qualities that we should be looking for in a midfielder. However, there are a few obstacles that West Ham would have to overcome if they were to secure Kessie’s signature.

West Ham United
West Ham United /

West Ham United

As the midfielder has had such a good season, it has significantly raised his price tag and it has been reported that AC Milan would want around £42 million for the player. The fee isn’t unjust after all, Kessie has been superb this year and his is still a young player after all but the question is would West Ham pay it?

If Rice was to be sold, then the club would have the funds to sign the player but it is a question of whether the board would splash that amount of money on one player after Sebastien Haller’s transfer didn’t work out.

There is also the fact that there are many big clubs interested in Kessie because of his great season, with Arsenal and Spurs said to be among them. It would be hard for West Ham to compete with some of the bigger clubs but stranger things have happened in the past. In fact, West Ham did manage to fight off Borussia Dortmund for Haller’s signature back in 2019.

Another set back in this deal could be that Kessie might actually choose to stay at Milan, after all the club are currently fighting for the title.

This transfer target is an ambitious one, but it’s not impossible. Stranger deals have happened in the past and things can change very quickly in the transfer window as West Ham fans know. If the opportunity did come for West Ham to bring Kessie in, the club must 100% put all their efforts into signing him up as he could fill any Rice shaped hole in our midfield, if the Englishman was to depart.

Next. Dawson three starts from permanent West Ham move. dark

Overall, there are lots of great options out there for West Ham, should they lose Declan Rice in the future. The Hammers should do all they can to keep Rice at the club and the England International will surely stay at the club as long as they continue to improve and match his ambition. However, the Hammers can take heart from knowing that if the worst were to happen and Rice left West Ham, that the club would have the option go out and bring in some class replacements.