West Ham United must hand Declan Rice the double-your-money contract thought to have been in the works earlier this season, amid interest from Liverpool and Manchester United.
According to Ian McGarry, while speaking on The Transfer Window podcast, representatives of both the Anfield and Old Trafford outfits have opened talks with Rice’s agent over a potential summer move.
It is thought the Reds and Red Devils have expressed their interest in prising the 22-year-old away from the London Stadium and have requested that they stay informed of any updates regarding his situation.
Chelsea are also noted to no longer be entertaining the idea of signing the England international, as was expected following Frank Lampard’s sacking by the Stamford Bridge natives.
Lampard had been the driving force behind the Blues pursuing the midfielder last summer, but the south-west London side refused to pay West Ham’s £80m valuation with other club figures not as keen to re-sign a player they released as a teenager for such a significant fee.
Rice has since continued to shine with the Hammers as one of the first names on the teamsheet, starting and playing the full 90 minutes in all 24 Premier League fixtures this term.
Moyes made it clear last month that he would not be letting Rice leave the London Stadium no matter who stood in the Chelsea dugout, as it would take an astronomical offer for West Ham to let the academy graduate leave.
“No matter who was the manager at Chelsea, or whoever came in, it would have been the same answer,” the Scot said, via quotes by the Mirror. “I said it right at the start and I’m only repeating myself – Bank of England money would be required, and you might even need to add Bank of Scotland on to that as well because he has been so good.”
Now, it is David Sullivan, Karren Brady and David Gold’s turn to show Rice how much he means to West Ham if they are to keep the midfielder in east London beyond the end of the season amid Liverpool and Manchester United’s approaches to his agent.
It had been reported by The Sun in October that GSB were willing to double Rice’s wage to £120k-per-week following Chelsea’s interest, but he has remained on the same £60k-per-week terms penned in 2018.
Rice was supposed to earn a pay rise to signify his importance to the Hammers and has only established his presence more so in the coming months, with Aaron Cresswell and Tomas Soucek the only West Ham players to have also featured for all 2,160 minutes of Premier League action to date.
The 13-time international also wears the captain’s armband when Mark Noble is not on the field, has long been considered the natural successor to the veteran midfielder and is a player Moyes sees as the future of West Ham.
But that may not come true if Manchester United or Liverpool present offers in the summer that appeal to Rice, who may feel undervalued if GSB are not willing to make him the best-paid player at the London Stadium in line with his status on the pitch.
So, if Gold, Brady and Sullivan want to see Rice in claret and blue and not red next season, they must hand the Moyes favourite a double-your-money deal or accept the consequences.