West Ham manager David Moyes has selected a potential replacement for Declan Rice. The 24-year-old England international is widely regarded as one of the top central midfielders in the Premier League. However, that greatness brings more wealthy clubs to the table. As a result, West Ham is already preparing for his departure, even if it is fighting for a European trophy.

West Ham bracing for Rice departure and replacement

Recently, Moyes admitted that Rice may leave the team this summer.

“We honestly hope he stays,” Moyes stated last weekend. “We’d love for him to be a West Ham player, but we are aware that might not be the case at the end of the season.”

“So that’s one of the scenarios around planning. There are plans that we have Dec here but we’re also fully aware there is a good chance we won’t have him.”

Arsenal are the clear favorites to sign Rice during the upcoming transfer market. The Gunners, like most other big clubs, have been admirers of the dynamic midfielder for some time now. Manager Mikel Arteta has qualified his club for next season’s Champions League and will be looking to bolster their squad. Rice would be an ideal marquee signing for the north London club.

Moyes interested in Southampton midfielder

The Evening Standard is now reporting that West Ham will target James Ward-Prowse should Rice leave. The midfielder currently captains the recently relegated Southampton side. As the Saints have already learned their fate, it certainly seems as if Ward-Prowse will not join the team in the Championship next season.

The England international may not be an exact replacement for Rice, but he is a quality Premier League player. Ward-Prowse is one of the top set-piece takers in the English top flight and also a proven goalscorer in midfield. Moyes was interested in signing the Southampton star last summer but opted instead to bring in Lucas Paqueta.

West Ham could potentially receive between $100-$125 million for Rice this summer. They could then use a chunk of this financial package to pry Ward-Prowse away from his boyhood club. Tottenham Hotspur has also been linked with the midfielder in recent weeks.