West Ham United have received a boost in their hopes of keeping hold of star man Declan Rice after Manchester City appeared to rule themselves out of the equation.
Rice was a Premier League sensation last season.
His form for West Ham earned him an England place as Rice established himself as one of the first names on Manuel Pellegrini’s teamsheet.
All eyes on Rice
Unfortunately for West Ham, Rice’s imperious form also attracted the attention of some top clubs, including mega bucks Manchester City (MEN).
So meteoric has Rice’s rise been he is reportedly valued at £70million plus.
Pep Guardiola reportedly had scouts monitor the season-long performance of four players including Rice and Wolves star Ruben Neves as he searches for the heir to Fernandinho (Sky Sports).
That had West Ham fans fearing the worst.
Pellegrini boosted by Man City signing
But Pellegrini has been given a huge boost in his hopes of keeping Rice. That’s after Manchester City appeared to rule themselves out of the running by their actions.
That’s because they have agreed the record signing of Rice’s Spanish equivalent Rodri from Atletico Madrid for £62.8million (BBC Sport).
Rodri has been widely tipped to be the successor of Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets – a player Rice has been likened to – for the Spanish national team and Guardiola is said to see him in this mould.
Declan sticking around
As a result Pellegrini will be hopeful of keeping the 20-year-old at the London Stadium.
Earlier this week Hammers legend Tony Gale told Sky Sports he is confident Rice will stay.
And the player himself told fans he will be wearing the number 41 next season.
Of course you never say never in football. The likes of Manchester United are still intent on adding young, hungry players to revamp their squad.
But with City out of the picture it should certainly make things less clear cut if Rice wants trophies.
Because that is certainly no longer guaranteed at Old Trafford.