Aberdeen starlet and Scotland youth international Lewis Ferguson would be a suitable successor to Declan Rice at West Ham if the midfielder leaves for Chelsea in the new year, says former Irons man Frank McAvennie.
England international Rice has been a standout performer at London Stadium for David Moyes' side in recent years, but could be subject to another raid by Frank Lampard's Blues in the January transfer window.
The Hammers may struggle to stop a deal that will take the 21-year-old to Stamford Bridge, leaving them with a major gap in the middle of their first-choice XI.
Former Scotland international McAvennie - who enjoyed two different spells in East London during his playing days - has however highlighted the well-regarded Ferguson as an ideal candidate to take the centre-midfield berth if Rice leaves.
The ex-Hamilton Academical man has enjoyed a sterling start to the 2020-21 campaign, with nine goals and three assists across 15 games to date, and McAvennie believes that regardless of Rice's future, the playmaker is set for an English top-flight career.
"I think Lewis Ferguson will go to the Premier League," he told Football Insider. “I would love to see him at West Ham because he is a fantastic player.
"I do not want Declan Rice to leave but if he was I think Ferguson would be the ideal replacement for him. There has been so much talk about Declan and if he was to go I think the boy Ferguson is ready for the Premier League.
"He is only young and he is a good, tidy player. It is an eye-opener going to England but it would only benefit him.
"I think Lewis could fill his space. It is like for like. He is a young, energetic player who keeps the ball well, can tackle and he can get forward and score goals.
"I do not want Declan to leave but I would not be annoyed if Lewis Ferguson took his place."
The 21-year-old Ferguson moved to Aberdeen ahead of the 2018-19 season and has been a regular for the team ever since, making at least 28 Premiership appearances in the past two seasons.