David Sullivan could destroy David Moyes’ season by selling Declan Rice amid claims the star West Ham United midfielder is Chelsea’s only target for the January transfer window.
According to talkSPORT, the Irons are braced for a winter war with Chelsea over Rice’s services with the Stamford Bridge natives remaining keen on signing the England international.
Frank Lampard is a firm supporter of Rice’s potential and believes he would massively improve the ranks at Stamford Bridge if acquired, but must first offload the deadweight at the club.
Chelsea are expected to listen to offers for Danny Drinkwater, Fikayo Tomori, Marcos Alonso and Willy Caballero in order to raise funds for Rice, whose value has only increased since West Ham slapped an £80m price tag on him to ward off interest in the summer.
The Blues were opposed to meeting the Hammers’ asking price in the off-season and never submitted an official offer, and may now have to wait until the end of the current campaign to launch their efforts following his expectational start to the term.
West Ham had been linked with doubling Rice’s £60,000-per-week salary with a deal that would see the 21-year-old become the club’s highest earner after Chelsea’s interest in the summer, with David Gold and Sullivan aware of the need to recognise the midfielder’s increasing status at the London Stadium.
Sullivan and the West Ham hierarchy are reaching a pivotal moment in their season, and must decide whether to table the improved terms speculated earlier in the campaign or brace themselves for a war with Chelsea after being left surprised at the Blues’ lack of formal action in the summer.
Losing Rice at the midway point of the campaign would risk the Hammers’ season imploding, having seen Moyes rely heavily on the academy graduate as one of just three players – alongside Tomas Soucek and Aaron Cresswell – to play all 1,530 minutes of Premier League football available thus far.
Rice has been kept on the field for each and every second as he often brings the balance to the engine room with a calm presence to dictate how West Ham operate, with the 21-year-old recording more total passes (820) than any other Irons player to date, per WhoScored.
He also ranks among the top-four players at the London Stadium for key passes (14), successful dribbles (18), successful tackles (32) and interceptions (35).
Rice is so important to how West Ham play that Moyes fears becoming too reliant on him.
“He is such an improved player. I really think he is doing a great job as a player and we are building up hope that he will be an outstanding captain,” Moyes said, via quotes by the Daily Mail.
“The role, his responsibility he takes on the pitch because of his young age, his leadership qualities will build. He has learned from Harry Kane and Mark Noble. My biggest concern – and I know he is young – would be that I don’t want us to rely too heavily on him.”
AND in other news, David Moyes must consider a drastic U-turn on an £18m-rated West Ham “monster”…