West Ham prepared to wait until summer for Declan Rice contract talks

Jacob Steinberg
The Guardian

West Ham are willing to wait until the end of the season before resuming talks with Declan Rice over a new contract.

Rice has entered the final 12 months of his deal and remains no closer to agreeing fresh terms. The 19-year-old has impressed in defensive midfield this season and believes he is deserving of an offer that reflects his value to Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

Although West Ham had hoped to resolve Rice’s future by the end of the year, they do not anticipate losing their brightest young talent for nothing next summer. They are adamant that Rice’s contract contains an option that will allow them to extend it until 2021 and they will not hesitate to activate that clause if necessary. West Ham’s belief is that they are in a position of strength.

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Rice, who is considering whether to switch his international allegiances to England after representing the Republic of Ireland in three friendlies, earns £3,000 a week and it is understood that his representatives have pushed for a basic wage of £30,000 a week. Although the player is happy at West Ham, he has shown no inclination to accept their offer of £15,000 a week plus lucrative appearance bonuses.

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West Ham feel their stance is more realistic for a young player. However plenty of clubs will be watching closely to see whether Rice, who is comfortable in defence and midfield, grows disillusioned there.

West Ham are willing to listen to offers for Reece Oxford in January. Oxford is yet to feature for Pellegrini, who has been unimpressed with the young defender in training, and has said that he will push for a transfer if he continues to be overlooked.

Oxford spent last season on loan at Borussia Mönchengladbach, who have explored the possibility of a permanent deal. West Ham remain hopeful that the England youth international will realise the potential that saw him make his senior debut at the age of 16 but a parting of the ways seems increasingly inevitable.

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