West Ham United star Declan Rice has reportedly had his head turned ahead of a potential summer of transfer interest…
According to Eurosport’s Dean Jones, the 22-year-old’s former club, Chelsea, are now leading the race to secure his signature before the new season, with several other Premier League teams keen, including both Manchester clubs and Liverpool.
It’s thought that the England international, who is currently playing at Euro 2020, is becoming increasingly open to the idea of leaving the London Stadium this summer, with sources close to Rice claiming he is interested in pursuing a move to a bigger side.
However, getting him out of East London may prove difficult for any keen party as the Hammers do not want to lose him and now believe he’s worth more than the £70m they valued him at last summer.
Rice is also understood to want wages in excess of £150k-per-week, as well as a substantial signing on bonus.
This is probably the last thing that Irons boss David Moyes and the West Ham faithful want to hear right now.
It contradicts further reports from May, when club insiders Claret and Hugh claimed that “there’s zero chance” Rice would be leaving the club this summer, so this certainly puts a worrying new twist on the situation.
The 58-year-old guided the Hammers into the Europa League, a year on from steering them to Premier League safety with one game remaining and he will need to bolster his playing squad to stand a chance at remaining competitive.
Whilst Rice would generate substantial funds to do exactly that, his absence would leave an irreplaceable void in central midfield as he’s emerged as one of Moyes’ most reliable and trustworthy options.
The young 6 foot 1 beast has often worn the captain’s armband in the absence of soon-to-be retiring Mark Noble and ranked as the Irons’ fourth-best (7.01) player as per WhoScored ratings.
During the 2020/21 season alone, Rice topped the charts for interceptions (1.8 per game) and wasn’t far behind for tackles (1.6 per game), whilst also proving to be the best passer at the club, averaging more attempts per game (47.7) and a better accuracy rate (88%) than anyone else, also via WhoScored.
Speaking about his worth in the past, Moyes suggested that it would “take the Bank of England and the Royal Bank of Scotland to get him,” so perhaps that is one thing in their favour, with the Englishman tied down to the London Stadium until 2024, though they may need to improve his £60k-per-week wages.
But this fresh update does West Ham and their manager no favours whatsoever. He has every right to be livid and perhaps a little concerned, even with the position the club is in right now.
With a historic season ahead, Moyes does not need a transfer saga floating above his star midfielder all summer and hearing that his star player might have his eye on a move away will surely have the Scottish manager feeling furious.