David Sullivan may have just pulled off a masterstroke at West Ham by demanding more than £100m to sell rumoured Manchester United target Declan Rice this summer.
According to talkSPORT host Jim White, the Irons co-owner and Chairman will demand nine-figure offers to sell Rice at the end of the season or will refuse to entertain any negotiations.
The claims followed former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan questioning how long West Ham can retain their England international, given his performances under David Moyes.
Rice has started and played the full 90 minutes in all 25 of the Hammers’ Premier League fixtures thus far this term, while often captaining his side in the absence of Mark Noble.
Rice’s efforts dictate the flow of proceedings at the London Stadium with the 22-year-old a metronomic presence in the engine room beside top-scorer Tomas Soucek, and is thought to be a target for both Manchester United and Liverpool.
The Premier League big-hitters are claimed to have contacted Rice’s agent to request that they are kept informed of any updates regarding his future, after Chelsea’s interest was halted by the sacking of Frank Lampard.
“It would be interesting to see what happens with Declan Rice at the end of the season,” Jordan said. “His performances have been so good that there will be suitors.
“There will be suitors with money. Then you’ll see how much David Gold and David Sullivan come under pressure if someone is prepared to write a cheque out for £80m, £90m for this player.”
Sullivan allegedly demanding offers in excess of £100m for Rice may prove to be a masterstroke by the West Ham chief, as it remains to be seen if any side is willing to pay what could be a British transfer record for the 22-year-old.
Liverpool hold the current record with Philippe Coutinho’s £142m move to FC Barcelona that featured an upfront £105m, while Manchester United lay claim to the most expensive signing in Paul Pogba’s return to Old Trafford when they paid Juventus a then world-record £89m for the Frenchman.
Whether either side is willing to place Rice in that category is up for debate, as is the potential for Liverpool or Manchester United to spend so highly on the £60,000-per-week West Ham star who Jamie Redknapp lauds highly.
“The defending by Declan Rice is unbelievable, putting his body on the line,” the former Anfield resident told Sky Sports (21/2, 13:56) while breaking down the Hammers’ 2-1 win over London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Liverpool have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with Jurgen Klopp forced to shop in the discount aisle during the January window and strike buy-now, pay-later deals last summer when Diogo Jota and Thiago Alcantara arrived for minimal initial fees.
Manchester United, meanwhile, are expected to prioritise the signing of a new centre-half and forward in the summer, with those deals likely to all but take up the Red Devils’ war chest.
So, the money may not be there for Liverpool or Manchester United to sign Rice if Sullivan sticks to his guns, while Chelsea are no longer thought to be keen since Lampard departed the helm. All in, then, a masterstroke in the making from the West Ham chief.
AND in other news, West Ham express interest in £40m star ‘frustrated’ at his current club…