West Ham have been warned that even winning the Europa League might not be enough to keep Declan Rice, who should take his chance to progress elsewhere.
Declan Rice will be in demand in the summer thanks to another standout season for West Ham. He has been pivotal to their consistent form in the Premier League and in Europe. It has built on from an impressive Euro 2020 with England.
West Ham have done well to keep their academy graduate this far and will drive a hard bargain in the summer again. David Moyes has been warning that their asking price could be in the region of £150m.
Most of the Premier League’s top clubs have been linked with the 23-year-old. But Rice remains under contract with West Ham until 2024.
With the prospect of more European football next season too, staying at the London Stadium may appeal. However, according to former Premier League midfielder Robbie Savage, it may be best for Rice to further his career elsewhere – even if the price isn’t necessarily right.
Savage told the Daily Mirror: “Even if West Ham win the Europa League, it might be the right time for Declan Rice to move on.
“The Hammers value their captain at £150 million. Wow – is Rice really one of the top three most expensive players in history, along with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe?
“For a No.6 holding midfielder, that’s a colossal amount of money. Normally it’s strikers who would fetch that kind of astronomical sum.”
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Rice’s valuation is out of his own hands. Still, he may have to make a decision about his future soon.
West Ham will want to keep him, potentially under a new contract. But Savage thinks he should listen to other clubs, to mimic the career pathways of two other players.
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The pundit added: “Rice’s career is approaching a crossroads. Make no mistake, he is is terrific player and he is still only 23 years old.
“He has a good passing range, he rarely gives the ball away – always the hallmark of a top midfielder – and he chips in with the odd goal. Although you could argue a player of his ability is capable of scoring more.
“I suspect West Ham’s best hope of holding on to him, maybe their only hope, is to qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League. I fear a top-four finish at home is probably just beyond them now.
“But if the Hammers fall just short in Europe, I do think the time would be right for him to broaden his horizons. We are talking about a fantastic talent, probably England’s best player at the Euro 2020 final. But is it going to get any better for him at West Ham than a European semi-final?
“Players can reach a peak and go on to win prizes elsewhere. For example, Kevin Keegan left Liverpool in 1977 after winning the European Cup and N’Golo Kante left Leicester after they won the title. Both of them prospered by moving on.
“If £150 million is the going rate for Rice, the asking price is not his fault and there are only a few clubs who could even dream of affording him.
“If Manchester United, Manchester City or Liverpool came calling for him in the summer, I think he would find it hard to turn down any of them.”