West Ham midfielder and England international Declan Rice could have moved to Southampton following his release from Chelsea as a teenager.
As revealed by The Daily Mail, the anchorman was released by the Blues at aged 14 and was courted by Southampton, as well as by the likes of Fulham and West Ham, yet as we all know, it was the latter who were able to secure the services of Rice, and in turn, produce one of the most promising English midfielders in some time.
The 20-year-old’s rise to stardom has been an impressive one.
With a current Transfermarkt valuation of £40.5m, Rice has made a clear reputation for himself as one of the Premier League’s most exciting players after being handed a first-team role by manager Manuel Pellegrini last season, and since then the London-born midfielder has flourished into one of the most compelling prospects in his role in the midfielder as well as name that is likely to be involved with the England set-up for some time.
Indeed, Southampton would seemingly be kicking themselves now for not managing to sign Rice when the opportunity had come up six years ago following his release from Chelsea.
With the Saints boasting one of the best academies in English football, Rice’s development as a defensive midfielder could have seen the now England international take up a starting role in the Southampton starting XI, playing ahead of the likes of Oriol Romeu.
With the south coast side producing the likes of Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Luke Shaw in recent years, Rice could have been another name to add to Southampton’s immaculate youth academy graduates that makes the Premier League team a promising club to play at for aspiring players.