Premier League • England

Declan Rice transfer latest: Journalist ‘100% confident’ West Ham will sell midfielder in 2023, but two clubs overtake Chelsea

Declan Rice of West Ham United during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester

West Ham are getting ready to cash in on Declan Rice in 2023, but long-term suitors Chelsea are not currently in pole position to sign him, a journalist has revealed.

Rice has been a target for Chelsea for many years after originally coming through their academy. He has since made a name for himself with West Ham, where he has risen to the role of captain after succeeding Mark Noble in the summer.

Transfer speculation continues to follow Rice around, even if he would rather that wasn’t the case sometimes. Chelsea need to evolve their midfield now that N’Golo Kante and Jorginho have passed their 30th birthdays.

Therefore, the prospect of a move back across London remains on the agenda. However, the England international is also generating interest from elsewhere.

A recent report predicted that West Ham would be selling Rice in 2023. His contract is only due to run until 2024 unless his current employers activate a 12-month extension option.

If Rice does not want to renew any further, West Ham might have to reluctantly cash in. Now, a second source has been suggesting this will be his final season at the London Stadium.

Speaking on the London Is Blue podcast, Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph asserted that Rice will be on the move next year. That said, he warned the Chelsea audience that their club are not actually leading the race right now.

Law said: “Rice, he will definitely, definitely leave West Ham at the end of this season. I’m 100 per cent confident on that.

“West Ham are preparing to sell Declan Rice. I think it’ll be about 70 million (pounds).

“Chelsea aren’t actually in pole position at the moment for Declan Rice. There are a couple of clubs who have made big plays for Declan Rice.

Chelsea unlikely to be outbid for Declan Rice

“But that’s not because Chelsea aren’t going to. That’s just because a couple of clubs have tried to go early on Rice.

“And again I would expect Chelsea to move on Rice and again I would be quite surprised if anyone outbids Chelsea on Rice. Albeit, as I say, I think there are two clubs ahead of them at the moment – and I can’t say who they are, I’m sorry.”

Asked if the contenders for Rice’s signature happened to be domestic rivals to Chelsea, Law replied: “Premier League clubs, yeah, I can say that.”

It may take some guesswork over the next few weeks to figure out who it could be. Realistically, though, Rice will be looking at clubs competing in the Champions League or Europa League.

Chelsea have Champions League football on offer this season, but sat eighth in the Premier League table going into the World Cup break. Graham Potter will be seeking to improve their results after Christmas in order to reinforce their status as an appealing destination.

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