Manchester City are reportedly lining up West Ham midfielder Declan Rice as a long term replacement for Fernandinho who turns 34 before the end of the season.
The Brazilian is having a tremendous season at the Etihad, but Guardiola is aware that he must start planning for a future without his talismanic holding midfielder and is said to be keen on a move for 19-year old Rice.
The Sun are reporting that Guardiola is a big fan of the Hammers’ young star and believes that he and Fernandinho share similarities in the way they control the midfield area.
Rice has been sensational for West Ham this season and has become one of Manuel Pellegrini’s most important players since nailing down a spot in the Hammers’ first team.
The 19-year-old recently signed a new long-term deal with West Ham but this is unlikely to put City and Guardiola off the potential signing of Rice.
Rice is also still embroiled in an international tug-of-war between Ireland and England, with the midfielder expected to make a decision on his future before the start of the Euro 2022 qualifiers in March.
Irish manager Mick McCarthy outlined that he and Rice had good talks over the 19-year old’s international future, who would be a huge boost to the Boys in Green should he decide to declare.
“It’s just up to him when he wants to decide. That’s how I’ve left it to be quite honest with you. It’s not my decision as to whether he plays for the Republic of Ireland. It’s only my job if he wants to stay with us, I can pick him.
“He’s a really talented player. He’s a lovely lad. He’s got a really nice family behind him. He’s got everything about him that you’d want him to play for you.
“I’d love to build a team around him. We start in March. That’s my deadline, I need to know by then. He could be a future captain, he’s that type of play.”
Rice has already made three friendly appearances for the Boys in Green but was left out of the Irish squad in August following interest in his services from Southgate and England.