West Ham must do everything in their powers to stop Chelsea from taking Declan Rice back to Stamford Bridge.
Reports on Metro.co.uk suggest the West London side are showing a growing interest in bringing Declan Rice back to the club he spent seven years at during his youth days.
The 19-year-old moved to West Ham aged 14 when the Blues released the Republic of Ireland international, but having seen West Ham bring the versatile player into the first team, they now want the teenager back.
It is being said that Chelsea are aiming to take advantage of the contract situation currently unravelling between Rice and West Ham with the Metro understanding the Blues will look to blow the Hammers’ offer out of the water.
At present, Rice’s deal runs until 2020 but West Ham want to show how much they value the services of the ace reportedly earning £3,000-a-week by offering an improved contract at around £20,000-a-week. This, however, still falls some way shy of the proposed £40,000 their London rivals are willing to sign off on.
At West Ham, Declan Rice has already racked up more than 40 competitive appearances since making his Premier League debut on the final day of the 2016/17 season against Burnley.
Had Chelsea not released the 6ft 1in Londoner five years ago, Rice may still be plying his trade in the youth ranks or joining one of the many Blues youngster shipped out on loan.
All the while if West Ham want to call on the services of their number 41, it makes complete sense for Rice to remain wearing the claret and blue jersey, develop his game and continue to establish his position at the London Stadium.
Further minutes under Manuel Pellegrini are a near certainty, especially with the club’s horrid injury issues in midfield, so why risk upsetting the momentum currently thrusting you through a key part of your career.
West Ham themselves must not let the prospective wage increase distract Rice and tempt the player to also question what London club he should be signing that next contract with.
The Hammers can build their side for years to come around Rice, who in seven Premier League appearances this season has averaged more than two tackles and interceptions per game while keeping it clean by giving away just 0.4 fouls and receiving just a single yellow card so far.