Declan Rice has labelled West Ham’s £100m valuation ‘crazy’ and drawn a clear line in the sand over his Hammers future.
After picking up the London Player of the Year award this week, West Ham’s talisman was asked about his ambitions and his future.
West Ham fans have endured over two years of incessant stories linking Rice with a move away.
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.
Even the most optimistic of Hammers fans know that will not be with them. Some still live in hope that Rice may stay if the club can somehow secure Champions League football.
West Ham have two bites at the cherry in that regard this season. They are three ties away from the Europa League final which, should they win it, will reward the club with qualification for next season’s top competition.
And in the Premier League, West Ham are just two points behind fourth-placed Manchester United with 12 games to go. The fight will likely be fierce, though, with Man United, West Ham, Arsenal and Spurs all vying for that Champions League spot.
But it seems West Ham simply have to qualify if they have any hope of keeping Rice at the club beyond the summer.
He won’t come cheap of course. David Moyes has repeatedly insisted West Ham value Rice well in excess of £100m.
Declan Rice labels West Ham valuation ‘crazy’ and draws clear line in the sand over his future
And now the midfielder has very much drawn a line in the sand over his future in an interview with The Evening Standard.
Rice says his need for Champions League football and silverware is “urgent” and labelled his £100m valuation “crazy”.
“It is as urgent as possible,” Rice told The Evening Standard about his desire to win trophies and compete in the Champions League.
“I feel like, not only for me, that’s for every young player as well. We are really close with West Ham at the minute and last season it was gutting to lose out on it but we are pushing.
“We’ll keep going. Champions League is a big aim of mine and hopefully one day I can play in it and do well…
“You hear those numbers (£100m valuation) and for me it is crazy. All I can do is go out there and perform, regardless of the price tag. I just need to focus on playing well and performing at the best level I can.”
Nobody can or will question Rice’s commitment.
If anything West Ham’s commitment to keeping pledges made to Rice over ambition could be questioned.
For any other player the headlines may become a distraction.
But Rice will continue to perform to the best of his ability until the day he leaves which, judging by these latest comments, looks almost inevitable this summer should West Ham not realise their wildest dreams of making the Champions League.