Former West Ham star Glen Johnson says he thinks it’s unlikely that Declan Rice will stay at the club amid transfer rumours linking him with Chelsea.
The England international has shown himself to be one of the finest young players in world football in recent times, and has been linked as a top target for the Blues in a recent report from the Telegraph.
Johnson accepts that it looks like West Ham are unlikely to be able to keep hold of Rice, and he thinks he could replace a “great player” in Jorginho in Chelsea’s midfield if he does link up with Thomas Tuchel’s side.
It remains to be seen precisely how this transfer saga will pan out, though, as one imagines other big clubs will also be keen to win the race for Rice’s signature.
Johnson has warned Chelsea that they need to make sure they sign the 23-year-old or he’ll almost certainly be snapped up by one of their rivals.
“If Chelsea don’t sign him, then someone else will,” Johnson told bettingodds.com, as quoted by the Daily Mail. “It’s one of those situations – he’s either going to your rivals or he’s coming to you.
“It looks unlikely that he’ll stay at West Ham but it’ll work out either way because if he stays then West Ham keep a world-class player, and if he goes they’ll get a fortune for him.
“He’s a class act, on and off the pitch. He’s still a young guy, still learning his trade, but I think the way he handles himself is not fake, it’s authentic.
“He’s clearly a lovely guy. I think the more characters we have like that knocking around for England, the better.
When asked who Rice would replace at Chelsea, Johnson replied: “I’d probably say Jorginho.
“I think that’s a bit harsh because I’m a big fan of Jorginho but I think if Rice came in with fresh legs and can motor around the park then Jorginho would probably be the one that’s sacrificed.
“Hopefully Jorginho doesn’t leave because he’s a great player, but he’s probably the one that I think would drop out of the starting line-up if it was to happen.”