Pros and chessboard cons: West Ham star Declan Rice’s ideal next club is obvious amid transfer frenzy

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The German champions are understood to be monitoring the West Ham’s captain’s situation

There’s a legend about a king and a con man; the former a lover of chess, the latter a carver of magnificent chessboards. One day the swindler came to the monarch and offered to sculpt him the grandest and most ornate board that the world had ever seen. The sovereign eagerly accepted his proposal and asked his visitor what payment he would require in return for the masterly work.

The travelling hustler hesitated for a moment, performatively almost, before explaining that he did not want gold or jewels, but rather plain old rice; one grain for the first square of the king’s new chessboard, two grains for the second, four grains for the third, and so on and so forth, the quantity of rice doubling each time, until all 64 segments of the surface were covered. The king, evidently no expert in geometric sequencing, agreed, and instructed his people to make it so. In response, they told him that it was impossible, and that there was nowhere near enough rice on the planet to meet the shifty artisan’s demands. You see, to cover a chessboard would require around 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 grains altogether. And yet somehow that is still less Rice than we’re going to be subjected to during this summer transfer window.

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The latest club to take an interest in a certain West Ham midfielder is Bayern Munich. According to a report from Sky Germany, the Bundesliga champions, newly crowned courtesy of Borussia Dortmund’s whimpering last gasp implosion, have identified the England international as a priority target this summer, with manager Thomas Tuchel having already spoken to the player over a prospective transfer. Money is said to be no issue, although publicly Rice continues to maintain that he is focused solely on next week’s Europa Conference League final in Prague, once the trophy has been etched and the confetti has settled - either claret for the Hammes or a deeper shade of regal purple for their opponents Fiorentina - the frenzy will presumably begin.

And it begs the question as to whether a move to Bavaria would suit Rice. Up until now, it has been taken as a given that he would remain in England. Arsenal have been perpetually touted as frontrunners for his signature, with the likes of Chelsea and both Manchester clubs, City and United, also understood to be interested. But Bayern represent an intriguing complication.

If it’s silverware Rice wants, few destinations could guarantee him success on a comparable scale to Munich. Likewise with prestige, or money, or the potential for general adoration. Tuchel has recognised that he needs a new defensive midfielder, and as such, with the Hammers captain seemingly first on his wish list, minutes would be no problem either. Champions League football would be nailed on ad infinitum, and it’s not as if anybody’s international career ever took a hit from playing at the Allianz.

There is not even the traditional novelty associated with an English talent moving to continental Europe anymore. What was once a startling anomaly is now just a common occurrence. Hell, you look at the way somebody like Jude Bellingham has flourished, and you begin to wonder whether there are some distinct advantages to high profile British names plying their trade away from the vampiric spotlights of the Premier League.

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Of course, all of this is immaterial is Rice doesn’t fancy life in Germany. Perhaps he has his heart set on the Emirates, or fears that he would miss being able to watch Eastenders without resorting to the iPlayer. Only he will know these things, and we will only find out if and when a decision on his future is made public.

But certainly from an outside perspective, you look at Bayern’s apparent interest in him, and you can’t help feeling that there could be some serious, serious benefits to it.

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