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3 Realistic Replacements For Declan Rice


3 Realistic Replacements For Declan Rice

With Declan Rice soon to be revealed as an Arsenal player, West Ham have the impossible task of replacing their best player and captain this summer. The England international is undoubtedly one of the most complete midfielders in World football, which is highlighted by his attributes, character, and versatility.

Discovering players who have a strong physical presence and possess similar traits to Rice is difficult but let’s analyse some realistic replacements for the England international and why West Ham should consider them. It is important to note that the players included currently have no concrete links to the club.

Mats Wieffer

Feyenoord won their first Eredivisie title since 2017 last season and their squad is full of talented individuals, who the club will be lucky to keep hold of over the summer. Twenty-three-year-old Mats Wieffer starred for Feyenoord towards the end of the campaign, and he played a key role in the achievement of the league title. Wieffer has experienced a rapid rise to the top of the game, having only signed for the De Club aan de Maas last summer, but he already has three caps to his name at international level with the Netherlands.

When watching the Dutchman, his 6ft2 stature and long legs are instantly identifiable. His physique has allowed Wieffer to become a cheat code in transitions as he can cover the pitch with ease. Not only does this help the prevention of opposition counter-attacks and ensure his side regain possession, but it also means that he can drive the team up the field with his progressive carries. I am sure this sounds familiar if you are an avid fan of Rice or West Ham.

Wieffer also excels when he has possession of the ball, with an impressive passing range, which can help spring counter-attacks with his long diagonal switches which suit West Ham’s style perfectly. He will provide the side with progressive actions but also a hint of creativity when facing teams who settle into their defensive shape.

Wieffer can play as a six or an eight, which allows West Ham to be tactically flexible and he is currently valued at around £13M according to TransferMarkt. Despite being far less experienced than Rice, many attributes overlap between the two and I believe he would be a very smart signing for the Irons.

Sofyan Amrabat

Moroccan midfielder, Sofyan Amrabat is a player who is most certainly ready for the next step in his career. Having shone at the World Cup for his nation and at his club side Fiorentina, many clubs are beginning to recognise the talented twenty-six-year-old, including European giants such as Barcelona. However, what would Amrabat bring to the West Ham side?

Firstly, the best way to describe his style of play from an out-of-possession perspective would be aggressive, physical, and proactive. His reading of the game combined with the prior attributes, allows him to dominate the middle of the pitch and be extremely valuable in the defensive transition. Amrabat is up there with some of the most difficult midfielders to dribble past in World football as he is also deceivingly fast.

He can shrug attackers off the ball with his strength in 1v1 scenarios and he often comes out on top in duels. Amrabat also uses his physicality when in possession, which is most likely the reason why he is so composed on the ball, even under pressure. His strength allows him to evade the opposition press, even if they do get tight to him, which could be vital for West Ham who predominantly play on the break.

Amrabat thrives as a number six, and he is mainly seen as a destroyer who can keep the ball ticking. According to Fbref, he ranks extremely low in attacking actions and even chance creation, yet compared to other midfielders his passing metrics are impressive. He is also positionally fluid and can drop into a back three when in possession, which will allow David Moyes to get the best out of his attacking players.

If West Ham are to rebuild around Brazilian Lucas Paqueta, which I think they should, then Amrabat would work perfectly and provide balance. A fee of around £30M would be enough to pick him up, and his relationship with his Moroccan teammate Aguerd, may make West Ham a more attractive move.

Ibrahim Sangare

PSV midfielder Ibrahim Sangare has been on the wish list of many clubs for the last few years, including Manchester United who were heavily linked with him last summer. The Cote D’Ivoire international committed his future to PSV as he signed a new five-year deal last summer, but I believe he is still attainable at the right price and a step up to the Premier League whilst still playing European football puts West Ham in a strong position.

Sangare is a 6ft3 holding midfielder who is extremely classy on the pitch. For someone of his height and stature, he has incredibly quick footwork and dribbling is one of his biggest strengths. He is almost Pogba-esque in terms of his use of body whilst dribbling, which makes him extremely difficult to dispossess.

The Ivorian’s close control and strength enable him to carry the ball with ease and he often steps into the attacking third to create overloads, ultimately freeing up attackers around him. It is evident that Sangare is more attacking than the other two on this list and he can be a goal threat himself from distance. Furthermore, he impressively ranks in the top 10% of midfielders for progressive passes which is an attribute that almost all Premier League midfielders must have in 2023.

Out of possession, the twenty-five-year-old is also efficient and boasts respectable stats, ranking highly in tackles, blocks, clearances, and aerials won per ninety minutes. Sangare can play in a double pivot or as the deepest midfielder in a 4-3-3 system, which is what I predict Moyes to opt for next season. The number six would be the most expensive out of the three, but in today’s market quality doesn’t come cheap, and Sangare is most definitely quality.