Carragher gives Rice price tag amid Chelsea transfer interest in Keane claim

by 24britishtvNov. 21, 2022, 3:20 p.m. 13
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Jamie Carragher believes that Chelsea transfer target Declan Rice is worth 'more than £100m' as he prepares to play his first World Cup match.

The England midfielder will be part of Gareth Southgate's plans for Qatar 2022 regardless of the system used. The 23-year-old West Ham captain is flexible between being in a pivot, midfield three or even as a centre-back if needed. His defensive prowess has made him one of the best shields in world football.

The Blues are currently looking for someone of Rice's exact makeup to slot into their team and transform the current predicament for Graham Potter. He has long been linked with a move back to the club that he was released by aged 14, but the opportunity for Chelsea has never been better than it is now.

In the summer, Rice will enter the final 12 months of his deal, meaning that the Hammers effectively have a choice to sell him for a cut price or wait and run the risk of him leaving for free. In just over 12 months, he can agree to leave for free in the summer of 2024.

Chelsea won't want to wait that long, and David Moyes' men will be desperate to get some form of compensation and keep him, though after rejecting new contract talks, that looks unlikely. The World Cup is a chance for Rice to prove just how good he is, with Carragher writing in his Telegraph column: "The World Cup presents an ideal opportunity for one of England's most in-demand central midfielders to prove he is worth more than £100 million.

"Step forward, Declan Rice. This is your moment."

Rice isn't the only one of England's players to be heavily looked at, Jude Bellingham is the star as a 19-year-old taking Europe by storm, and he's another player Chelsea will be making moves for over the summer, but Carragher thinks Rice will be wanted by just as many teams, and that he's Gareth Southgate's second in command.

"If Harry Kane is the first name on Gareth Southgate's team sheet for the opening game against Iran, Rice is a close second," the former Liverpool defender adds.

"Rice is the next England captain. Fitness permitting, he will win over 100 caps by the end of his career. The question he will be asking himself is whether he wants to be remembered as a great England player or a player who was part of a team that regularly competed for Premier League and Champion League honours. He can be both. Deep down, he knows he will have to leave West Ham to do that, otherwise he will follow the path of those whose England careers eclipsed their club achievements."

It's not just Rice's trust and leadership that makes him a great player, though, whereas it's easier to justify spending large amounts of money on a tangible matchwinner, the bloke scoring the goals and letting everyone know about it with a summersault - that's you Pierre - Rice's skills can go under the radar.

Carragher thinks it's unfair only to consider him a defensive midfielder. "Pigeon-holing Rice as a modern 'No 6' is not accurate, though," he explained. "He reminds me of the marauding box-to-box midfielders of the mid-90s, such as Roy Keane.

"Keane could do everything, a perfect combination of technique and physicality, just like Graeme Souness in the 1980s. The fact he was not a regular goal scorer from midfield - he managed 39 in 366 Premier League games for Manchester United - did not diminish his influence and importance to Sir Alex Ferguson's greatest sides. Keane would make my all-time Premier League XI.

"Rice, like Keane and Souness, is so good because he is basically a combination of both profiles. To describe that as 'old-fashioned' could be interpreted as a criticism when it is intended as the greatest of compliments.

"Rice's 'problem' in convincing a club to pay over £100m for him is that modern coaches, certainly at the elite level, want their central players in those defined roles. They are less keen on midfielders who run here, there and everywhere, as they do not want to compromise the team shape. And, naturally, they will allocate most of the transfer budget to those who play higher up the pitch."

What Moises Caicedo said on Chelsea transfer decision ahead of World Cup opener Qatar vs Ecuador

Chelsea news and transfers LIVE: Latest news, rumours and gossip from Stamford Bridge

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