Manchester City Identify Fernandinho Replacement

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Manchester City identified West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice, 19, as a long-term replacement for Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho reports talkSPORT.

The highly-rated Hammers midfielder is garnering praise from all quarters and is currently at the heart of an international tug-of-love between England and the Republic of Ireland.

A recent meeting with Mick McCarthy, the new Irish manager, suggests this is close to being resolved with the former Ipswich Town boss declaring Rice has the qualities to be a future captain of his country.

Rice earned himself a new 5½ year deal after establishing himself as a first-team regular at the London Stadium and is tied down to 2024. The Hammers hierarchy reacted quickly to the previous speculation over the youngster’s future to ensure he remained in the East End.

His form this season brought him to the attention of Manchester City’s coaching staff and most pertinently, Pep Guardiola.

The City staff believe Rice is an ideal long-term replacement for Fernandinho with the 33-year-old proving a vital cog in the defending champions progress this season.

Despite the embarrassment of riches in their squad, City proved vulnerable when the Brazilian was injured last month. Two defeats in three games saw Guardiola’s team slip behind Liverpool in the title race. Beating the Reds at the Etihad and scoring 16 goals in two cup games this week served notice that City are not to be ignored when the final reckoning.