This season has been, by and large, one of despair for West Ham United, made even more so by the team’s legitimately exciting start to the campaign.
Seven games without a win in all competitions, though, have firmly deflated the Hammers’ bubble, to the point where they are now sat only two places above the relegation zone.
The last thing the east London side’s fans need, then, is to potentially lose arguably their best player mid-way through the season. However, that is reportedly now a very real possibility.
The two parties have long been linked with each other, but Hammers supporters have always held out hope that any move would be a few years down the line at least.
It’s starting to look, though, as if United will swoop either in January or next summer. Either way, it looks like more misery is on its way for fans of the Irons.
Yes, Rice hasn’t been quite as good this term as he was last time out – a byproduct of West Ham’s wretched run of form – but he is still one of the finest defensive midfielders in the top flight.
The statistics demonstrate as much. As per WhoScored.com, the 20-year-old is averaging 2.9 tackles and 2.1 interceptions per game, to go with a handsome pass success rate of 89.6%, despite him knocking four long balls forward an outing on average.
This is an exemplary young footballer, one you’d hope hate to lose, particularly when your team is already going through a horrendous run of form. Let’s all just keep our fingers crossed, then, that the Hammers are able to stave United off until the summer, at least.