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Monday, April 25, 2022

Marina Granovskaia can save new Chelsea owners £150m with surprising Declan Rice alternative

  Ruben Loftus-Cheek has emerged as a surprise candidate to occupy 'the Declan Rice role' at Chelsea should the Blues prove unsuc...


Ruben Loftus-Cheek has emerged as a surprise candidate to occupy 'the Declan Rice role' at Chelsea should the Blues prove unsuccessful in their efforts to sign the 23-year-old. The West Ham midfielder topped the west London side's shortlist in the summer, but a move was delayed after a £100 million evaluation was tipped 'steep', according to The Athletic .

The England international's glowing displays have attracted the interest of Manchester United and Manchester City interested, too, as per MailOnline. Though, despite the growing intrigue, David Moyes has waived the prospect of his midfielder leaving east London. In a bid to do so, the Scotsman insisted it would take £150m for Rice to leave.

"The first thing to say is that he is not for sale," Moyes said earlier this month when asked whether the aforementioned sum is feasible. "If you are interested, well, it will be north of that. One hundred was cheap last summer. One hundred and fifty just now would be the minimum, but he is not for sale. What I do know is that it means there are only certain clubs that could even consider it."

Rice , who was released from Cobham at the age of 14, sees his current deal at the London Stadium expire in the summer of 2024, although the Hammers do have the option to extend that by a further 12 months. Gary Neville has told West Ham that they must accept their fate and be prepared to let their prized asset leave.

But, if Chelsea can't finalise a deal, then Thomas Tuchel should use Loftus-Cheek, who - statistically - has surfaced as an alternative. Sourcing statistics from FBref, which have been collated by @ExpectedChelsea , the graph (below) depicts the defensive intensity and ball-progression of Premier League midfielders this season.

Rice and Loftus-Cheek have surfaced, surprisingly, as very similar players in this department. The pair share a place alongside one another in quadrant one (top-right), which categorises 'all-round midfielders'. Quadrant one, which includes Jorginho, houses 'active defenders' with 'sub-par ball progression'.

Quadrant three, which includes Conor Gallagher, houses 'inactive defenders' with 'sub-par ball progression', and quadrant four, which includes Kevin De Bruyne, houses players with a high number of progressive actions that don't contribute much defensively.

So, if West Ham proves stubborn in transfer negotiations or Chelsea fails to get their man, Tuchel could use Loftus-Cheek as a short-term alternative and save the club a staggering amount of money.

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