Hammers star Michail Antonio has spoken out on Declan Rice’s West Ham future after new £83m contract snub reports.
The wider football media seems to finally be waking up to the reality of the Rice situation this week.
After months of lazy tabloid speculation, the message is finally getting through that West Ham simply will not be selling their talisman anytime soon – and certainly not for anything less than his £150m valuation.
As reported by Hammers News earlier this week, an emotional comment from Rice during an interview at West Ham’s awards night proves he is staying next season.
The likes of Sky Sports reported last night that West Ham will not hold further talks with Rice over a new contract until the summer transfer window has closed after the midfielder turned down an eight-year deal worth £83m.
It is West Ham’s way of effectively saying ‘Rice stays’ – for one more year at least.
The Hammers are in a strong position. Rice is not the type of character to down tools or throw his toys of his pram to force a move. And the 23-year-old’s contract has two years to run with West Ham holding the option to extend it by a further 12 months until 2025.
With Mark Noble retiring next weekend, Rice will be West Ham club captain next season – hopefully leading the team out in the Europa League again.
How much longer Rice stays at West Ham beyond next season remains to be seen.
Now Hammers striker Michail Antonio has spoken out on Rice’s West Ham future after the £83m contract snub reports.
And Antonio told Sky Sports that whatever Rice decides over his West Ham future, he will be ‘happy for him’.
“Dec has not even touched his best yet,” Antonio told Sky Sports.
“He is unbelievable! What I see everyday in training, he’s got so much more to do and got so much more to learn but what he’s doing right now, he’s up there with the best in the Premier League already.
“And the Premier League is the best league in the world, so for me to say he’s not at his best yet – I’d say in the next two to three years is when he’ll be at his best – he’ll be unbelievable.
“One thing with Dec he won’t let anything outside of football distract him. He’ll do what he does on the field and keep concentrating on that. Whatever happens, happens for him.
“Obviously I enjoy playing with him, everyone wants to play with the best and I would love to keep playing with him for as long as possible.
“I’m a person that doesn’t like to convince anybody to do anything,
I like them to be happy in their own body so whatever Dec wants to do I’ll be happy for him. I love him as a player and I love him as a person. His decision is his at the end of the day.”