This one has ‘saga’ written all over it.
Such dreary stories in which seemingly no progress is ever made are features of the summer transfer window, and we’ve got to prepare ourselves for weeks and potentially months of stagnant Declan Rice updates.
The West Ham skipper has developed into one of Europe’s leading midfielders by the tender age of 24, and there’s no doubt that he’s outgrown the east London club.
A big move beckons for Rice, but where the England international ends up is a mystery that may take a while to solve.
Rice rejected a bumper new deal in May 2022 that would’ve seen him become the highest-paid player in the club’s history.
West Ham offered him a whopping eight-year extension, but Rice turned it down due to his desire to play Champions League football and compete for the highest honours.
Thus, the midfielder’s current deal in east London expires in June 2024, although West Ham do have the option to extend his deal by another year which safeguards against them from losing Rice for nothing next summer, and gives them a little more leverage in negotiations with potential buyers.
West Ham boss David Moyes slapped a £150m price tag on Rice’s head last year, and it’s understood the Hammers will be looking for a fee in excess of £100m for the midfielder’s services this summer.
The Irons are said to be paying close attention to Jude Bellingham’s transfer situation and the fee Borussia Dortmund can garner for his sale.
At this stage, reports on West Ham’s valuation vary, but it appears that the club aren’t too concerned about the player’s contract situation. That certainly hasn’t diminished his value severely in their eyes, and clubs may be forced to pay £120m to sign Rice this summer.
A whole host of Premier League clubs are keen on signing Rice.
90min reported back in February that Manchester City have renewed their interest in the player, and incoming Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino is understood to be interested in working with Rice at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have long been admirers of their former academy player, but a move to west London may depend on the future of Mason Mount. Rice is, of course, good friends with Mount, but it’s unclear whether he’ll remain at Chelsea beyond the summer.
Midfield-needy clubs such as Arsenal and Liverpool have also been linked with the England international, with Rice emerging as a priority target for the…