West Ham in dreamland with double Declan Rice update having big implications for Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice Credit: Alamy
West Ham midfielder Declan Rice Credit: Alamy

A double Declan Rice update has provided positive news for West Ham, though won’t be as warmly received by potential suitors Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City, per reports.

The future of Declan Rice is a subject that is shaping up to be one of the must-see transfer sagas of the summer. The England ace, 24, has played the entirety of his professional club career thus far with West Ham. However, per various sources, change is on the horizon.

The Athletic previously reported West Ham are internally resigned to the fact Rice will move on at season’s end.

He’s rejected no fewer than three contract extensions, with the latest worth £200,000-a-week over an eight-year period.

Rice is under contract until 2024 and the Hammers have an option for an extra year. However, his desire to test himself in the Champions League is clear and the club see no logic in delaying the inevitable beyond the current campaign.

Doing so would only cut into Rice’s transfer value as his contract winds down. Given they’re reportedly accepting of the fact he’ll depart, the biggest issue right now is how to extract maximum value in the market.

Manager David Moyes has previously insisted Rice is valued in excess of £100m. Enzo Fernandez recently cost a British transfer record £106.8m and West Ham will hope to use that Chelsea deal as a benchmark.

To do so, they need Rice’s many suitors to engage in a fierce bidding war. If only one club bids, Ben Jacobs and Football Insider state they may only be able to generate around £70m-£80m.

Arsenal are a known admirer and were made to settle for their midfield plan B in January when signing Jorginho upon missing out on Brighton’s Moises Caicedo.

A higher profile midfield addition is expected to be targeted come the summer. Per CBS Sports’ Jacobs, Arsenal will go big for the Hammers man.

Arsenal make Declan Rice their “midfield priority”

“Arsenal’s midfield priority will be Declan Rice and West Ham are resigned to losing him,” Jacobs told Caught Offside.

“David Moyes has been quick to argue if Rice leaves it should be for a British-record fee. But suitors are hoping for a fee of £70m-80m. This is ultimately because Rice’s contract expires in summer 2024.

“But Chelsea’s big-spending could inflate the market and thus Rice’s price. You can understand why selling clubs, especially for top-tier central midfielders, will point to Enzo Fernandez’s £107m fee. They all intend to ask for something similar.

“I still think Rice will go for cheaper than that, but how much so will depend on whether West Ham get a bit of a bidding war.”

Chelsea, Man City to inflate transfer cost

Now, a second update, this time from Football Insider, has confirmed the competition to sign Rice will indeed be fierce.

FI reckon Man City and Chelsea will both ‘push Arsenal all the way’. If that scenario transpires, West Ham stand an excellent chance of extracting maximum value for Rice and potentially a nine-figure sum.

While they’ll be dismayed to see Rice depart, a £100m+ return will give the club great scope to sign multiple new faces all across their squad. A Rice exit may therefore be a classic case of short-term pain for long-term gain.

One player who’s already been touted as a potential Rice successor is Mainz midfielder, Anton Stach.

FI also noted Liverpool would be ‘ready to pounce’ if given the greenlight by West Ham. However, the Reds are only likely to be a serious contender for Rice if they miss out on Jude Bellingham. On that front, Liverpool were recently handed a timely boost by BILD’s Christian Falk.

On the subject of who is likely to win the Rice sweepstakes, FI and Jacobs both agreed Rice favours remaining in London. Obviously, that puts Man City at a disadvantage.

A second demand – although not reportedly a deal-breaker – is the presence of Champions League football.

Given the two interested London clubs are Chelsea and Arsenal and the Blues are currently 10th, logic would dictate the Gunners are the frontrunners at present.

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