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Glen Johnson on Rice to Chelsea: “He’s either going to your rivals or he’s coming to you”

Glen Johnson believes Chelsea should make a move for Declan Rice.
Glen Johnson believes Chelsea should make a move for Declan Rice.

David Moyes last week claimed that West Ham and England star Declan Rice is currently worth over £100 million and despite this hefty value, the rumours surrounding the future of England’s most sought after midfielder refuse to die down. BettingOdds.com caught up with former West Ham defender Glen Johnson to discuss speculation linking Rice with a move to the Hammer’s London rivals Chelsea. Johnson also spoke to us regarding why he believes West Ham won’t sign Jesse Lingard this summer, Tammy Abraham’s buy-back clause and who he believes will win this season’s Champions League. 

In Declan Rice’s recent interview with Gary Neville, he’s said that he wants to stay close to home in London and Chelsea are the current favourites to sign him. If they are to sign him, which Chelsea midfielder do you think is most likely to depart? Rumours suggest it could be Kante who is now in his 30s.

 

“I’d probably say Jorginho. I think that’s a bit harsh because I’m a big fan of Jorginho but I think if Rice came in with fresh legs and can motor around the park then Jorginho would probably be the one that’s sacrificed. Hopefully Jorginho doesn’t leave because he’s a great player, but he’s probably the one that I think would drop out of the eleven if it was to happen.”

 

Should Chelsea go all out for Declan Rice in the summer?

 

“Yeah, if they don't then someone else will. It’s one of those situations - he’s either going to your rivals or he’s coming to you. It looks unlikely that he’ll stay at West Ham but it’ll work out for both because if he stays then West Ham keep a world-class player, and if he goes they’ll get a fortune for him. 

“He’s a class act, on and off the pitch. He’s still a young guy, still learning his trade, but I think the way he handles himself is not fake, it’s authentic. He’s clearly a lovely guy. I think the more characters we have like that knocking around for England, the better.”

 

One of the shock rumours of the January transfer window was that West Ham had offers turned down for Leeds duo Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha. With the Phillips offer especially, do you only believe he will come in if Rice was to depart? Would Raphinha coming in also make you worry about what would happen to Bowen?

 

“I’d be happy if West Ham signed both of them and kept hold of the other two. They need a deeper squad and if a move for Kalvin Phillips was to come off then that would be a great addition. He could play alongside Declan Rice no problem.”

Do you think West Ham have lost Lingard altogether, with big bucks Newcastle United likely to come and swoop in for him in the summer once he’s a free agent?

 

“It doesn’t look like a move to West Ham is going to happen. Since he went back to Manchester United, it never looked like a move was going to happen. The player never said he wanted to go, his club didn’t say they wanted him to go. If the player really wanted to go then it would have happened by now. I don’t think it’s going to happen. His contract is expiring and Newcastle are sitting poised, waiting to offer him something, so I can’t see him ending up at West Ham now.”

 

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Wayne Rooney is working wonders at Derby County despite all the sanctions that have come his way. He’s been given huge credit to turn down Everton and stay at Derby. His assistant Liam Rosenior has said that Rooney will have a world-class managerial career, can you see that as well?

 

“I quite like the decision he’s made to stay and work with Derby because that Everton job will have been tempting but as you’ve seen in the past you can take a big job too early. It would have been tempting to manage in the Premier League but you’ve got to earn your stripes and learn the hard way shall we say, so I think the more years he can get under his belt somewhere could be more beneficial in the long run. I can see him being a manager for a very long time.

“As a young manager there’s no such thing as a bad experience. Of course, no one wants to get relegated but as long as you learn from those moments, you move forward and keep improving. All experience is a good experience.”

 

Nathaniel Phillips moved on loan on deadline day to AFC Bournemouth. He will be 25 in March. Is there realistically any likelihood in him having any part to play in Jürgen Klopp’s future plans? 

 

“He’s not a baby anymore and he’s not classed as young nowadays. If he plays week in, week out whilst he’s on loan and gains some confidence then you never know whether he will be a part of Jürgen Klopp’s future plans. Even though I said he wasn’t young, he’s still young enough to win a big club over. If he can be in good form at Bournemouth and stay fit then you don’t know what could happen.”

 

Leicester City reportedly made loan enquiries for Chelsea's French defender Malang Sarr, 23. Sarr has made 10 appearances for Chelsea this season, including three Premier League matches, completing the full ninety minutes in each, winning two - both with clean sheets. But could a loan move to a Premier League club have benefited the young star, with regular football at a high level?

 

“I think yes, a loan move to a Premier League club have benefited the young star, with regular football at a high level, but the timing was always against him, in the sense that at Chelsea, Ben Chilwell’s injured and I don’t think the club would have allowed him to do it. But if they did let him go on loan then, of course, as long as he performs, it’s only going to help Chelsea.”

Thomas Tuchel has reportedly requested that Chelsea sign Éder Militão as a potential replacement for Andreas Christensen or Antonio Rüdiger if they leave this summer. Can you really see this signing happening, considering that Militão is solidified in Real Madrid’s back four at present?

“It’s always hard for a player to leave Real Madrid, particularly if you’re playing every week. It’s obviously a massive, iconic club. So I think if Éder Militão is playing and he continues to do well then I think it’d be hard for Chelsea to prise him away. I do however think it’s a player that would help Chelsea out.

“I do think defensive reinforcements are a priority for Chelsea in the summer, even more so if they don’t sort out the two situations with Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen. They either need to sign them both up to new deals, or at least secure one of them and bring in somebody else. Something needs to happen. You can’t have two players walk out and your best defender being a 37-year-old.”

 

Roma have confirmed that Tammy Abraham has a buy-back clause in his contract meaning that Chelsea can re-sign the striker from 2023. If Romelu Lukaku’s struggles continue, would someone like Abraham be near the top of the list of replacements for you? Considering that Thomas Tuchel was the man that let him go, would you be shocked if he eventually went on to re-sign Abraham?

 

“I wouldn’t be totally shocked if Tuchel or Chelsea eventually went on to re-sign Tammy Abraham. He’s doing well away at Roma and I know that Chelsea has a place in his heart. He’s of course English as well. But I think as long as he’s performing at the right level - and keeps on performing - and Chelsea have proven in the past they’re not too embarrassed to buy back a player that they’ve previously let go, I could see that happening.”

 

Today's Football Tips

Chelsea forward Armando Broja, who is currently on loan at Southampton, is wanted by Saints on a permanent basis. Considering the fact that he’s proving himself at a Premier League club, if you were Chelsea, would you not rush to make money on the player? Thomas Tuchel is said to be a fan of the player.

 

“In my opinion, you may as well wait. Overall I think Armando Broja and Chelsea could work but I wouldn’t do it too soon. He’s only 20 years old. He’s obviously still got a lot to learn but he’s playing in the Premier League and hopefully he can turn into a goal-scoring centre forward - and as we know they cost a lot of money and they’re hard to find. Allow him to go on loan for maybe another season and wait and bide your time and then cash in if you don’t think he’s going to be good enough.

“I think he’s done well so far this season for Southampton. Obviously you like to see a striker with a few more goals but his all-round game’s good. He’s intelligent, he finds himself in some good areas and I think once he discovers a bit more movement then I think he could bang in the goals next season for sure.”

 

The Champions League returns this week, with all four clubs - Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and City - remaining in the competition. Who would you say is likeliest, or even more determined, to go the furthest in the competition?

 

“I think it’s Manchester City or Liverpool. They’re the two giants in it. I think City need it more than anybody and we say it every year but they have the squad to do it. They just have to get it right on the night. On their night they’re unbelievable and probably the favourites for nearly every single football match they start so they’re going to win it sooner or later.”

 

Who are you backing for the Carabao Cup Final on February 27, Chelsea or Liverpool? Liverpool are the joint-record winners of the EFL Cup, having won it eight times, but lost to the team they share that prestige with, Manchester City, when they last reached this stage back in 2016 in Jürgen Klopp’s first final with the club. Chelsea also lost this match - again to City - in 2019.

“I’m going to go for Liverpool. I think the way they can play in these big games they’ve just got a lot more going for them, in their performances, and their momentum shall we say.

“We want to see some entertainment. I don’t want it to be a 1-0 or a 0-0 for sure. Both teams are capable of scoring aren’t they. Let’s hope for a big open game and make it exciting.”

 

Does the EFL Cup still carry prestige? Neither manager of the respective two finalists’ managers have held the trophy before and will be gunning for the first silverware of the season. Slightly pessimistically, who do you think out of the two the final will be their most likely chance of a title this season?

“I’d probably say out of the two clubs it’s Chelsea’s most likely chance of silverware this season. This is probably their best chance. They've got one game and I can’t see them getting to another final at the moment. I think this is their biggest chance for some silverware.”

 

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Who are you backing for the Carabao Cup Final on February 27, Chelsea or Liverpool? Liverpool are the joint-record winners of the EFL Cup, having won it eight times, but lost to the team they share that prestige with, Manchester City, when they last reached this stage back in 2016 in Jürgen Klopp’s first final with the club. Chelsea also lost this match - again to City - in 2019.

“I’m going to go for Liverpool. I think the way they can play in these big games they’ve just got a lot more going for them, in their performances, and their momentum shall we say.

“We want to see some entertainment. I don’t want it to be a 1-0 or a 0-0 for sure. Both teams are capable of scoring aren’t they. Let’s hope for a big open game and make it exciting.”

 

Does the EFL Cup still carry prestige? Neither manager of the respective two finalists’ managers have held the trophy before and will be gunning for the first silverware of the season. Slightly pessimistically, who do you think out of the two the final will be their most likely chance of a title this season?

“I’d probably say out of the two clubs it’s Chelsea’s most likely chance of silverware this season. This is probably their best chance. They've got one game and I can’t see them getting to another final at the moment. I think this is their biggest chance for some silverware.”

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