Hammers co-owner David Sullivan has responded to a journalist’s claim that West Ham held Declan Rice talks with Chelsea over the summer.

As West Ham fans are only too aware, Rice has been incessantly linked with a move to Chelsea for the last couple of years.

The Blues released Rice as a youngster and the Hammers took him on at 14 before helping him develop into one of the finest midfielders in Europe.

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West Ham slapped a £150m price tag on Rice’s head and vowed to build a team around him amid alleged interest from the likes of Chelsea (The Athletic).

Co-owners Sullivan, Daniel Kretinsky and David Gold have certainly done that, backing David Moyes with eight quality new signings to the tune of £170m over the summer.

Chelsea were the biggest spenders in the Premier League, though, splashing out over a quarter of a billion pounds under new owner Todd Boehly.

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And according to football reporter Simon Phillips, Chelsea ‘came close’ to signing Rice too.

Speaking to GiveMeSport, Phillips stated that Boehly even structured payments for Rice’s transfer.

Phillips claimed that the new Chelsea owners spoke to West Ham about Rice and ‘gave their all’ to try and secure a deal but ‘ultimately came up short’.

“The owners did all they could to try and get him,” Phillips told GiveMeSport.

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“They went to West Ham, they had conversations about him and I was told that it even went as far as structuring the payments of the deal.”

Now co-owner Sullivan has responded to the journalist’s claim that West Ham held Rice talks with Chelsea.

Speaking exclusively to Hammers News, Sullivan described the claim as “rubbish” and reiterated the club’s stance over West Ham’s captain Rice.

“Rubbish, he was not for sale this window at any price,” Sullivan told Hammers News.

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“We said that at the start of the window and stuck to it.”

There has been speculation that a private agreement has been struck between West Ham and Rice that he will be allowed to leave next summer.

But West Ham fans are hoping the ambition shown by the club in the window, with the likes of record signing Lucas Paqueta coming in, might convince Rice to stay with the Hammers and resist any future interest from Chelsea or other Champions League clubs.

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