Steve Nicol believes Liverpool should have no interest in signing West Ham United starlet Declan Rice this summer, telling ESPN that Jurgen Klopp already has a top class defensive midfielder in Fabinho.
The Express reported in February that Rice’s outstanding displays at the heart of West Ham’s midfield had caught the eye of Liverpool, amongst others, with the newly capped England international apparently valued in the region of £35 million.
The 20-year-old has been a revelation in recent months, winning the Hammers’ Players’ Player of the Year award, and he would represent a substantial coup for Liverpool given the level of interest from home and abroad.
But Reds legend Nicol, however, believes there are other areas where the club should first look to strengthen.
“James Milner’s coming to the end of his top-flight career. Father Time catches up with us all. Declan Rice would have been ideal before they signed Fabinho. I just see Declan Rice as being the same as Fabinho,” Nicol said.
“It’s good to have a great squad, as Man City will attest to, but I’m not sure that he’s better than Fabinho.”
It seems unlikely that Rice will be going anywhere this summer, however, the twice-capped midfielder signing a new long-term contract until 2024 as recently as December.
Fabinho, meanwhile, has been outstanding since belatedly forcing his way into Klopp’s starting XI. The Brazilian, who joined from Monaco for £39 million last summer (BBC), produced a superb performance to shackle Lionel Messi in Tuesday’s stunning Champions League semi-final victory against Barcelona.
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