West Ham full-back Pablo Zabaleta has urged the club to secure Declan Rice down to a new deal, in comments published by The Guardian.
A shining light in a largely disappointing campaign for West Ham last season, Declan Rice’s surge into the first-team frame has provided encouragement for a new era of youngsters in East London and he is now a key part of Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
Still 19 years of age, the Republic of Ireland international may start a frenzy in the transfer market as his contract expires at the end of the season and he has snubbed the offers of a new deal worth £12k-a-week as he holds out for around £30k-a-week, The Guardian reports.
However, it appears that Rice has support within the West Ham dressing room as Pablo Zabaleta has urged the club to do what it takes to secure the talented teenager down to a new deal in comments published in the same report.
“He is young and still has room for improvement for sure. But he has the right ability and attitude to become one of the greatest players for West Ham.
“He is in the last year of his contract so West Ham need to think about his situation because, even though he is young, he looks so mature and is proving he can perform for the team. He is one of those young players you like to look after and help with all the information you can give him.”
West Ham’s derisory offer to Declan Rice will be infuriating for the young talent as it comes on the back of a summer when the Hammers have shown a willingness to splash the cash, having spent over £100m on new additions.
Rice, with his current standing in the first-team, certainly deserves at least £30k-a-week and there is an argument for him to earn more and using his age against him is a strange move as the offer should be based on his ability and importance, rather than his date of birth.
Zabaleta’s comments should provide Manuel Pellegrini and company with the kick they need to get a deal over the line as it would be a major blow for the Hammers if Rice was to leave at the end of the season – especially if they did not receive a fee for his services.