eclan Rice rejects West Ham contract offers amid Champions League interest


Declan Rice has turned down two contract offers from West Ham and wants to be informed of any bids amid interest from Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City.

The midfielder is West Ham’s most valuable player and the club are keen to fend off suitors by handing him a lucrative long-term deal. However Rice would like to play Champions League football next season and is open to leaving despite David Moyes’s side qualifying for the Europa League.

The 22-year-old, part of England’s Euro 2020 campaign, has a further three years on his contract with an option for another season and West Ham are determined not to sell the player, who came through their academy. It would take an offer of more than £100m for the club to reconsider their position.

They could face a fight to keep him if Chelsea, United or City firm up their interest. City are the least likely to bid because they are focusing on trying to complete deals for Harry Kane and Jack Grealish. They see Rice as a successor to Fernandinho, who this week signed a new one-year deal.

Rice was released by Chelsea at 14 and is interested in a return to his boyhood club. His best friend Mason Mount plays there and Chelsea’s manager, Thomas Tuchel, has identified Rice as a key target. Chelsea will open a space in midfield on Thursday by allowing Billy Gilmour to join Norwich on loan for the season. Tuchel won the Champions League last season and is set to be backed by Roman Abramovich in the transfer market.

United are also keen on Rice and could offer Jesse Lingard in part-exchange. Lingard impressed on loan at West Ham during the second half of last season and Moyes would like to sign him, although his employers would prefer a standalone deal. Some of United’s England contingent have been talking to Rice about life at Old Trafford.

West Ham are expected to make Rice a further contract offer. The club have not been able to give him assurances over their transfer budget as they attempt to push on after last season’s sixth-place finish.

Source: The Guardian