According to a well placed insider, Hammers talisman Declan Rice has committed to West Ham until 2023 but there is an obvious catch.
West Ham insiders Claret and Hugh, who have strong links inside the club, ran an exclusive yesterday claiming Rice and the Hammers had reached an agreement which will see the coveted midfielder stay for at least another year.
“A top club insider has told ClaretandHugh that, despite there being links with other clubs, Declan is focused on life at West Ham for the next 12 months minimum,” Claret and Hugh reported on Tuesday.
The news has been gratefully received by Hammers fans who are desperate to see West Ham build the club around this generational talent.
Rice’s performances for West Ham and England have made him one of the most sought after midfielders in Europe.
Incessant speculation has linked Rice with some of Europe’s biggest clubs including Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea.
In a recent interview with Gary Neville for The Overlap, Rice made it clear he wants to be competing for and to win all the top trophies.
And the midfielder appeared to draw a line in the sand over his future in another recent interview with The Evening Standard where he described his desire to win titles and play in the Champions League as ‘urgent’.
Rice committing to West Ham until 2023 is wonderful news but there is an obvious catch.
West Ham value the midfielder at around £150m. Whether rival fans, pundits or clubs believe he is worth that matters not one jot. That is the valuation placed on Rice’s head to deter bids not encourage them!
As fantastic as it is that Rice is pledging the next year of his career to the Hammers, the obvious catch is that if a club comes along and pays his asking price this summer then there is every chance West Ham may be forced to sell.
Whatever happens, Claret and Hugh goes on to suggest that 2023 could likely be the last we see of Rice in a West Ham shirt.
“However, there is an acceptance, after ongoing talks, that Declan is desperate to win things and that if he can’t do that with us he will be looking to do so perhaps as early as next summer elsewhere,” Claret and Hugh adds.
“Talks between the club, Declan and his agent/father Sean have been 100 per cent amicable. The captain has informed the club outright that he has no plans to hand in any kind of transfer request and intends to give his all until his final day in a claret and blue shirt.”
Being sustainably successful is the only feasible way of keeping Rice long-term. David Moyes has admitted as much himself.
Winning the Europa League and thereby qualifying directly for next season’s Champions League group stage would be a great place to start.
In the meantime C&H claim West Ham will continue to try and agree a new contract with the star on a salary in excess of £200,000 per week.