Pep Guardiola has revealed his 'admiration' for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, who he also labelled as a 'fantastic player' during his pre-match press conference ahead of Manchester City's clash with the Hammers on Saturday afternoon.
It isn't uncommon for Guardiola to heap praise on opposition players in a totally innocent manner, and he certainly didn't shy away from doing exactly that on Friday afternoon, as he was quick to name drop Declan Rice and Antonio as the players who have shone in this West Ham side in his eyes.
Speaking to the press ahead of Saturday's clash, Pep Guardiola said of the West Ham duo, "What I saw is the rhythm increased a lot on previous seasons. They have fantastic players like Declan Rice. I am a big admirer of him and Antonio is always a headache for his movements."
Manchester City are known to be in the market for a midfielder in the coming summer window, and particular in Declan Rice's position, with the Etihad club already being linked with a number of names across Europe - especially with the pending departure of club captain Fernandinho upon the expiry of his contract at the end of the current season.
Declan Rice has been linked with a move away from the London Stadium on multiple occasions, most notably during Frank Lampard's time as Chelsea manager - when the former City star was reportedly a very keen onlooker of the England international.
But with Lampard now long gone from Stamford Bridge, could there be an opportunity for Pep Guardiola to swoop in and steal Rice away from the grasps of David Moyes?
He would join the likes of Manuel Locatelli, Denis Zakaria, and Ismael Bennacer on the growing list of defensive midfielders being linked with a move to the Etihad Stadium - so it's fair to say there's plenty of options for the chief negotiators to contend with in the coming months.
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