Is Moyes Right to Say Rice is a Bargain at £100m?

James Budgen

Declan Rice Transfer Odds

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CHELSEA @ 5/4

Is he worth £100m?

In an interview with Sky Sports, David Moyes stated that Declan Rice being available for £100m in the summer was a bargain price, with clubs having to pay a lot more for his signature in the future.

Currently, Rice is favoured to join either Chelsea - his boyhood club before being released to then join West Ham - or Manchester United, who currently have a lack of top-level defensive midfielders at their club.

Rice came into the West Ham first team at 18 years old after impressing in the U23s, making his debut for West Ham on the final day of the 2016/17 season, coming on as a sub against Burnley. He then made his full first team debut the next season against Southampton.

Is he worth £100m? Easily. Here's why:

Declan Rice Transfer Odds

skybet

MANCHESTER UNITED @ 7/4

How has he progressed?

In his first full season in the first team in the 2017/18 season, Rice played 26 league games, playing a mixture of central defender and defensive midfield with the season-ending in him being runner-up in West Ham’s Player of the Year voting.

Since his integration into the first team at such a young age, Rice has gone from strength to strength for West Ham and he truly is now one of Europe's best in his role. His performances have seen him capped by England 27 times including being a mainstay in England’s run to the Euro’s final and being one of their best players too.

Rice’s form has also seen his club West Ham rise through the Premier League ranks, being one of the main parts in them qualifying for the Europa League last season, whilst being arguably their best player en route to easing through the knockout rounds; Rice scored two goals in Europe as well as getting the Man of the Match three times.

The England star has improved year on year in his career, but when he first came into the West Ham team, there was some worry that he wouldn't be good enough on the ball to become a top-level player in central midfield. However, Rice has progressed as good as the likes of Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, and other young stars of a similar age, just sadly for defensive midfielders, their goal contributions are never high and therefore, never get the accolades they deserve.

Regardless, as he is the captain in the absence of Mark Noble and ahead of experienced talents like Lukas Fabianksi and Michail Antonio, it's clear to see he is special behind the scenes too.

How do the stats bulk up his already impressive CV?

Rice has gone from completing 38 passes per game at an accuracy of 86% in 2019/20 to completing 59 passes a game so far this season in the Premier League at an accuracy of 91% - a clear rise from a special talent. This improvement in his passing has allowed West Ham to be more possession orientated, with Rice dictating their play from deep.

It’s not just sideways passes that Rice does, as he completes 6.67 passes per game into the final third, which is in the top six percentile for doing so in his position, his forward passing has become a real key to West Ham progressing the ball further up the pitch.

Rice has also become one of the elite ball carriers in his position. He’s in the top percentile for total carrying distance and progressive carrying distance in his position, showing that he doesn’t just have to pass the ball to move his team up the pitch, as he is able to dribble with the ball at an elite level as well. This was proven in his stunning sensational goal in the Europa League against Dinamo Zagreb.

His passing range and dribbling ability has clearly had to develop over the last few years, with him being very static and poor on the ball when he entered the league, but one thing that is instinctive to Rice is his defensive ability. To play in the defensive midfield position, your reading of the game has to be excellent, and Rice has shown over the years he is one of the best at reading the game, even at a young age.

The England man has intercepted the ball the most times (32) than any other midfielder in the Premier League so far this season, whilst also completing the eighth most tackles (22) so far this season.

An England Must-Play Already puts millions extra on within itself

With his ever-improving skill set both on and off the football and his leadership skills, it is quite clear why Rice is touted to be a future England captain, especially with him experiencing captaincy of one of England's most in-form sides and a potential Europa League-winning side.

At 22 years of age, Rice has amassed 27 appearances for England and has already surpassed 150+ for the Hammers, and with such experience at such a young age in a position where peak years usually come later in the career, Rice is an anomaly in world football.

West Ham will smack a huge asking price for him next summer as they can’t afford to lose him with him being the heart of the team that has brought them from a relegation-threatened side to one of the best teams in the Premier League.

Now, being as much of a starts as players like Harry Kane and Harry Maguire, and in fact, being arguably the only man in the country able to do what he can do, Rice's price only increases. Combine this with his excellence with West Ham, the captaincy, his shoe-in for PFA Young Player of the Year, and his overall exceptional talent combined with the current market and his at least decade-worth of brilliance, £100m truly is a bargain. It really, really is.


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