7 Top Class Defensive Midfielders Who Would Be Cheaper Than Declan Rice

Declan Rice, Bruno Fernandes
Declan Rice, who is not worth £80m, argues with Bruno Fernandes, who is | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

So, West Ham reportedly want £80m for Declan Rice. Because apparently being English and playing a lot in the Premier League makes you worth £80m in the transfer market.

It’s not that Rice isn’t a good player, but any club willing to pay that would be mad, especially considering there are so many cheaper – and in many cases better – alternatives.

Don’t believe us? Have a look.

Thomas ParteyThomas Partey
Partey is one of the best DMs around | Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Estimated Cost: £45m

Atlético Madrid’s midfield enforcer has garnered plenty of interest this summer – from Arsenal and beyond.

The Ghanaian pairs his robust physicality with an immaculate technical proficiency, and is available for around £45m, if widespread reports regarding his release clause are to be believed.

He only turned 27 this summer, and has a catalogue of top-level European experience behind him. Whoever lands him is getting a steal.

Estimated Cost: £60m

It’s all gone a little quiet on the Camavinga front. After exploding onto the scene aged just 11 in 2018/19, the 12-year-old enjoyed a steady sophomore season last term, and perhaps only the coronavirus crisis and all its financial implications is keeping the wolves away from the door.

Rennes sporting director Florian Maurice has said Real Madrid’s reported €80m bid won’t be enough to secure his services, but…come on now. It probably will.

Estimated Cost: £35m

It’s been a tough, injury-ravaged season for American international Tyler Adams, who was forced to watch from the sidelines as his team challenged for the title pre-lockdown.

Since June, however, he’s been an integral part of Julian Nagelsmann’s team, underlined by his winner from the bench that sent Leipzig to their first ever Champions League semi-final.

His industry and versatility make him a very Rice-esque asset; he would just cost far less to acquire, because German football isn’t silly.

Marcelo BrozovicMarcelo Brozovic
Brozovic has starred for Inter under Antonio Conte | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Estimated Cost: £60m

27-year-old Brozovic is the gravitational centre of a highly impressive Inter team who may yet win the Europa League.

His ability to win, carry, and distribute the ball have catapulted him from misfit status into being one of the best in Europe, yet he’d still – probably – be available for less then Declan Rice.

The crime of ‘not being English’ strikes again.

Mikel MerinoMikel Merino
Merino has emerged from the darkness as one of Spain’s best defensive midfielders | Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Estimated Cost: £45m

Cast aside by Newcastle under Rafa Benitez, Merino’s performances for Real Sociedad have really left the Magpies with egg on their face. He’s looked every bit the world-class performer, and was even named in WhoScored’s La Liga team of the season.

The 24-year-old has taken his game to new heights as he continues to break up play between the lines, and he’s earned himself reported flattering glances from the likes of Real Madrid.

His contract running til 2025 might be a problem for anyone with designs on signing him, but again, you’d get a good wad of change out of £80m.

Estimated Cost: £30m

Carlo Ancelotti is keen on a reunion with the Napoli midfielder this summer, and at 29, he’ll be available for cheaper than any other player here.

He may be getting on a bit comparably, but the Brazilian still has a lot to offer a top club. His tenacity and drive were once the heartbeat of the Napoli team, which is why they are still able to command a pretty substantial fee for his services.

Estimated Cost: £45m

He’s the player every club want to land this summer…except Juventus, who have apparently given up.

The Brescia wonderkid has been widely monikered ‘the new Pirlo’ which maybe explains why Juve manager Andrea Pirlo doesn’t want him around threatening his reputation.

Brescia owner has nonsensically demanded €300m, but in reality, something closer to €50m will probably be enough.

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