By Michael Brown

30th May, 2020 | 6:00pm

Exclusive: Pundit suggests Declan Rice quitting West Ham & replacement lined up

Michael Brown suggests West Ham have plans in place to replace Declan Rice as he touts a move for the midfielder this summer. 

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Premier League enforcer claims that the 21-year-old will be looking to take the next step in his career after playing 100 games for the Irons.

The defensive midfielder has established himself as a mainstay in east London, having come through the youth ranks as a centre-half.

Having seen Rice become a regular for both club and country over the last two seasons, Brown believes he will have his sights set on bigger and better things in the near future.

“I think he’s played enough now, he’s got a good tally of games behind him so he’s obviously gained that experience now in the Premier League,” Brown told Football Insider.

“I think Declan Rice will be looking to try and progress at a club a little bit higher up the league once you’ve played that amount of games.

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“With West Ham still showing promise at times and then finding it difficult, if a move and he could see a pathway to play somewhere else, I think he would consider it now. 

“Will they need some player in that category? I’m sure they will be well aware there will be suitors for Declan Rice.

“They’ll have probably already got a list together to see and say: ‘Where can we put somebody in?'”

Rice has featured 30 times across all competitions for the Irons this season, including playing every single minute of the club’s Premier League campaign.

He also has seven England caps to his name, having changed allegiances from the Republic of Ireland back in 2019.

In other West Ham news, it can be REVEALED the Hammers have set their sights on a midfielder who grew up round the corner in east London.