Rio Ferdinand has warmly praised Declan Rice and has run the rule over the West Ham star’s future amid interest from Manchester United and Chelsea.
Rice has been heavily linked with a move to a club of Champions League calibre after impressing for West Ham over the past few years.
Man Utd would be a prime suitor if the 21-year-old was to be on the move. They have given a platform to several homegrown players – whether from their own academy or those of other clubs – in recent years.
It was recently claimed that United would make a move for Rice at the end of the season. However, that may be a gamble, as Chelsea are keen to sign the England international this month.
The Blues spent heavily in the summer transfer window, but Rice was the one target that got away.
Indeed, Chelsea have been wondering what might have been with Rice for a number of years now. He previously came through their academy ranks but left for West Ham at the age of 14.
Discussing the player, Ferdinand admits he’s a huge fan of Rice, but concedes a move to Chelsea looks far more likely.
“I don’t think he goes this window, I think he stays there for the remainder of the season. I don’t think he’s the kind of kid who is going to push to leave right now,” Ferdinand told his FIVE YouTube channel.
“If it happens, it will be between the clubs. I don’t think he’s going to be the person that instigates it.
“I think he’s quite a laid-back kid in that sense but he’s a driven kid. He’s someone who wants to achieve, better himself and improve.
“He’s like a sponge, he asks questions when you speak to him: ‘What was it like in your time?’ He reminds me of myself in that respect.
“He asks questions like, ‘What was he like, training with him?’. He wants to know everything because he wants to better himself. You can’t fault a kid like that.
“Good luck to him. I think it’s inevitable he will go but I think – if I’m being realistic – he will go in the summer. And I think it would be to Chelsea if he had his wish.”
West Ham keen to keep Rice
Reports have indicated that it would cost at least £80m to prise Rice away from West Ham. His current club are fighting to keep him, though.
There has been talk of a new contract for the youngster, which would include a significant payrise. However, the report from The Mirror says there has been no update on that front yet.
Therefore, bids could come in to test West Ham’s resolve – although they would still be looking for an expensive fee.
Rice remains under contract until 2024, with the option of a further year. Thus, there is little pressure on West Ham to agree his new contract, even if they would like to give him reassurances over his pay packet.