West Ham midfielder Declan Rice will be among those considered by Manchester City as a potential successor to Fernandinho, claims Richard Dunne.
At 20 years of age, the man currently on the books at the London Stadium has made plenty of headlines this season.
He has emerged as a promising holding midfielder after being moved out of a defensive berth while earning a first senior England call-up on the back of switching international allegiance from Ireland.
Big things are expected of the Hammers academy graduate and it could be that a big-money transfer forms part of his future.
Dunne believes reigning Premier League champions City would be among the interested parties as they begin to ready themselves for life after Fernandinho and see questions asked of Ilkay Gundogan’s ongoing presence at the Etihad Stadium.
Former Blues skipper Dunne talked to BT Sport about the German playmaker and potential market moves: “I could understand if he [Gundogan] did move on and wanted to go somewhere else to be the main man in the team because he’s a top player but in that squad, he’s just one of many. It would be great for Man City to keep him but they have got other options.
“He’s done that role well when he’s filled in but I think his mentality is that he wants to get forward and wants to be involved in the attacking play in the game. I think he’s someone that can step into that position for a short period but I don’t think City would see him as the man to fill Fernandinho’s shoes for the long term.
“I think Declan Rice at West Ham has been very good, he’s obviously progressed and has been named in the latest England squad. He’s a player I’m sure Man City are keeping their eye on, like a few other teams will be.”
Among the other midfield options that City have to consider is Phil Foden, with the 18-year-old already on their books.
He has been handed a new contract this season and made 26 appearances across all competitions, but questions are still being asked as to whether one of English football’s brightest young talents is getting enough game time to aid his development.
Dunne said of that issue: “It’s very tough because the way Phil Foden plays football is perfect for Man City.
“He likes playing short passes and to get on the ball as much as possible and I don’t know where he could go [on loan] and play a similar sort of way that suits him.
“He’d obviously love to be getting a bit more time on the pitch but he’s getting told how good he is by City, I know Pep Guardiola loves him, so I can’t see a better place for him.
“As much as it would be great for him to play more, I just think what he’s learning from those players in training and the few minutes he does get in games will benefit him.”