By Noel Whelan

4th Sep, 2021 | 5:00pm

Rice replacement may already be at West Ham after £17m reveal - Whelan

Noel Whelan has suggested West Ham may have signed Alex Kral as a potential replacement for Declan Rice.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds striker heralded the Hammers’ scouting network for their transfer dealings in recent seasons.

West Ham confirmed the signing of Kral on loan with a view to buy on deadline day (31st August).

As revealed by Football Insider, the Irons have agreed an optional purchase fee of £17million for the Czech Republic international.

He joins Rice, Tomas Soucek and Mark Noble as the more defensive-minded midfielders in east London.

However, speaking late last month, Whelan suggested Rice could quit next summer and that David Moyes may spend this season searching for a replacement.

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He claimed Kral could be the man to eventually take the England star’s place.

Asked if Kral may be viewed as a potential replacement for Rice, Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “Yeah, possibly.

“It’s about getting that quality in and strengthening the squad because you’re in Europe. They had such a good season last year.

“Money is available to do that because of where they finished in the Premier League as well.

“You’ve always got to strengthen if you’ve got aspirations to better next season, be up there again and be cemented in the top 10.

“They don’t want to be a bottom side again, inside that bottom half, they really don’t. It was a perfect season for them last year.

“That scouting network that they have brought in players that have really hit the ground running at West Ham. It transformed them into a competitive side.

“They’ve gone out and really sharpened up that transfer policy. Look how great they are to watch.”

In other news, ex-manager claims West Ham may have just signed “£50million” player.