Spain and Barca legend Busquets is one of the greatest midfielders of his generation and indeed all time.
West Ham’s own midfield hero Rice is widely regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders to emerge in world football over the last few years.
All good things must come to an end and Busquets, now 34, is winding down on his glittering career. Busquets is in the final year of his contract with Barcelona and has not yet decided what to do with his future.
Therefore Barcelona have reportedly started work on their Busquets succession plan.
West Ham have had to endure speculation over Rice’s future for years now. The Hammers have held on to their main man, though.
A host of Europe’s elite clubs have been linked with moves for Rice including Man City, Man United, Chelsea and Real Madrid.
It has been widely accepted that West Ham will listen to offers for Rice next summer as the skipper refuses to sign a new contract.
Now Barcelona could enter the mix, thanks to artificial intelligence.
Spanish outlet AS claims a computer programme has told Barcelona to sign West Ham star Rice as the successor to Busquets.
According to the Artificial Intelligence platform Olocip, Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi is only the second best option to perform the role.
Because the AI data highlights West Ham talisman Rice as the primary option.
“In this election, the criteria of the entity’s technician, that of the Technical Secretariat and that of Artificial Intelligence coincide,” AS reports.
“According to Olocip data, which points to the realist as the second midfielder under 25 years of age who would best perform this function.
“The data from Artificial Intelligence and the data that he manages put a special focus on Declan Rice, from West Ham, but the club does not see him as easily adaptable.”
Rice is on course to have played 250 games for West Ham by next summer.
That would leave him in third place on the club’s all-time Premier League appearances list behind Mark Noble (414) and Cresswell (261 and counting).
So if Barcelona did follow the data in their succession plan for Rice then it could leave David Moyes needing a replacement of his own.