By George Overhill

3rd Aug, 2022 | 10:40am

talkSPORT pundits link West Ham United move for Amadou Onana with potential Declan Rice exit

West Ham pushing to sign Lille midfielder is part of the succession plan to replace Declan Rice when he leaves, talkSPORT’s Simon Jordan says.

News broke on Tuesday evening (2 August) that the Hammers had agreed a fee of €40million for the young Belgian, which was subsequently confirmed widely on Wednesday morning.

If personal terms can be agreed he would likely be lining up alongside the Irons skipper but Trevor Sinclair has sounded a note of caution over the potential signing, and Jordan agrees.

Speaking live on talkSPORT on Wednesday morning (3 August, 10.08am) the ex-Hammers winger said: “Straight away I thought great, good for the squad.

“It just makes me wonder is there something else going on? Because we know how highly thought of Declan Rice is, and is there something in that maybe they’re considering replacing [him]?

“Maybe it’s one for get him in now, get him used to it, then maybe Declan could be leaving in a year or so.”

Host Jim White said: “We were told… that Declan under no circumstances would be leaving.”

Jordan then backed Sinclair, saying: “He may not be leaving in the summer but Trevor’s point is one about building for the future and preparing for the eventual departure of Declan Rice, because there’s an inevitability about it.

“If he wants to win things and play in the Champions League, and kick on at the domestic level, there is a choice he’s going to have to make.

“If [Daniel Kretinsky] is going to kick them onto the next level then maybe that will dissuade Declan Rice.

“Ultimately they are building a succession programme for the eventual departure of Declan Rice.”

Big year

If Onana comes in it would be a major statement of intent and should be the exact sort of signing that Rice was thought to want to show the club matched his ambition.

During much of last season it was assumed that the England international would make a big-money move this summer, but the club priced him out of a transfer with a £150million price tag.

After missing out on the Champions League it is widely believed that he wants to move to a club who are in the competition in a year’s time.

But after a very strong transfer window, with the additions of Flynn Downes in the same area, Nayef Aguerd in defence, and finally the top striker West Ham have long needed in Gianluca Scamacca, it remains to be seen where this club will be by then.

If the sort of achievements that David Moyes has managed over the last couple of years with a relatively thin squad can be bettered with the new reinforcements it is surely not completely beyond possibility that the Hammers make the next step.

Should they be able to do that then there is reason to believe that Rice could remain for the long term.

While Onana is not a done deal yet, if they can bring him in then it should help towards that, but at the very least it guards the squad against a big hole being left of Rice does make a move.