West Ham legend Tony Cottee has urged his former club to double Declan Rice’s wages if they hope to keep him from the clutches of the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea.
Rice, who broke into the Hammers side in the 2017/18 campaign, has gone on to become a key figure in the midfield and has established himself on the radar of England boss Gareth Southgate.
At only 21 years of age, his potential has reportedly led to keen interest from United, with boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looking to add exciting homegrown talent to his ranks.
Chelsea have also been linked and speaking to The Sun, Cottee admitted that West Ham will find it hard to convince Rice to stay if the opportunity of a move to Old Trafford presents itself.
Indeed, while a cup run and a top-ten finish may be enough according to the 54-year-old, a significant wage increase may also be required.
“West Ham need to have a good cup run and be in the top ten. And the one other thing the club can do at this moment in time to protect Declan and to protect the club is to give him a new contract,” the pundit said.
“I don’t know the figures, I know he was on a crazy amount like £3k-a-week or something. And they probably gave him £30-40k-a-week which for me or for everyone who loves football is an unbelievable amount of money to have.
“But the point is if he was at Man Utd or Man City or Chelsea, he’d be on at least £100k-a-week so what the club can do is at least double his wages.
“People will say you can’t do that because he’s a 21-year-old. No, he’s an England international and if you give him a four or five year contract on that sort of money you protect the value and the asset of the player.
“So then, he’ll be worth 70 or £80m because teams have got to get him out of his contract.”
The transfer window has been hit with a number of uncertainties due to the global financial impact the sport will feel because of the pandemic.
However, United boss Solskjaer previously called on his side – one of the wealthiest in world football – to look to exploit the struggles of clubs with less money if the chance arises.
In other news, Juventus are reportedly willing to allow Aaron Ramsey to move to United if Paul Pogba makes a return to Turin when the transfer window re-opens.
Pogba has been linked with a move back to Italy in recent months having had his season wrecked by two separate foot injuries.