Michael Owen has urged Liverpool to launch a move for Declan Rice if they fail to sign his England international teammate Jude Bellingham this summer.
The Reds were heavily linked with a reported Premier League record move for the Borussia Dortmund midfielder but pulled out of the race to secure his signature this summer due to his enormous price tag believed to be over £120m.
Speaking to Daily Mail, as cited by Anfield Watch's Twitter account, Owen believes Liverpool should look to snap up Rice when the transfer window opens, with the midfielder set to leave the London club at the end of the season.
Michael Owen on Liverpool's midfield targets:
"[If you can't get Jude Bellingham], go and get the next best, try to get Declan Rice or get someone else who is of a top standard."
Rice has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal, while the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea have also been credited with an interest. The England international will not come cheap, with West Ham manager David Moyes confirming to Daily Mail that interested teams will have to pay in excess of £100m to sign him.
"Undoubtedly he’s going to be a top player and undoubtedly he’ll be a British transfer record and more whenever he leaves West Ham. I hope he sees out his time here. But look, there’s a lot of talk about it and when you see what’s going about for the prices, I think Dec will be blowing that British record out of the water, that’s for sure, when it comes around."
ANFIELD WATCH VERDICT
Declan Rice is an outstanding young midfielder who has shown his class for club and country in recent years. Additionally, as an England international, he'd count as a homegrown player, which ticks another box for Liverpool. The likes of James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams could all be offloaded this summer, so the Reds will surely be on the lookout for players who can satisfy the homegrown quota.
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The 24-year-old is primarily a defensive midfielder who can also be deployed as a #8. so there's no doubt he'd be an interesting option to ponder. However, it remains to be seen if Liverpool splurge a large part of their transfer kitty on one player after walking away from a deal for Bellingham due to the same reason.