Former Ireland captain Kenny Cunningham joined The Football Show to discuss Declan Rice and his potential transfer to Arsenal.
Declan Rice is no longer a youngster in the Premier League.
He's still a young football player, he's just 24 years of age, but he's now established as a Premier League starter. And he's approaching the prime years of his career. As such, all of the speculation surrounding Rice is that he is going to take the next step in his career and move to a big club.
Arsenal are the specific big club who he is expected to join.
Although Arsenal are leading the Premier League and enjoying a great season, there is still a suggestion that they need to improve. Their squad needs to be bolstered moving forward. Reports suggest they want two central midfielders, one winger and a centre-back.
Thomas Partey has been very good for Arsenal in central midfield. Rice would make a lot of sense signing to play alongside him. The reported fee is £80 million and that could easily rise to £100 million if a market develops in the summer. Jack Grealish cost that much and he hadn't achieved more in his career than Rice has.
Kenny Cunningham thinks Arsenal will be lucky to get Rice for only £80 million.
"I'd be amazed if that gets done at [£80 million]," Cunningham said.
"It's just the owners, they generally get good value for their players and £80 million sounds cheap to be honest with you. It's reasonably cheap. I would have thought maybe £100 million and above. I thought they'd be digging their heels in."
Rice has been at West Ham since 2017 when he was a Republic of Ireland youth player. He has repeatedly been linked with a move away from the club but it's never materialized. He's also never pushed his way out of the club, instead becoming a fan favourite. He inherited his role from Mark Noble in more ways than one.
Noble never left the club when he had opportunities to. But he also never tried to force his way out. Rice might need to do that and it's a tricky thing to do.
"He's almost got to say it publically. Because we've seen this 100 times over the years with players. It's a PR battle between player, owner and supporters...generally, it needs the player to come out publicly and say 'Look, I'm out of here.'"
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