West Ham United boss David Moyes has made it clear that any interested suitors will now need to pay well in excess of £100m if they want to sign star midfielder Declan Rice.
Rice, 22, has long been thought of as a superstar by the Hammers. But his displays for England at Euro 2020 and for West Ham over the past few seasons have elevated his status. The talented schemer had played every minute of the East End outfit’s eight league games ahead of Sunday’s Tottenham clash.
And he has also started all three of the Irons Europa League clashes in 2021-2022. Team-mate Nikola Vlasic heaped praise on the Kingston upon Thames-born star this week, labelling him “unbelievable”.
Not surprisingly, a few clubs have been linked with a move for the man with 27 Three Lions caps. Manchester United and Chelsea are the two whose name keeps being mentioned in connection with Rice.
Jack Grealish moved from Aston Villa to Manchester City for £100m in the summer. It was thought Rice would cost a similar amount.
But Moyes has now stressed that the youngster’s value has skyrocketed and any thoughts of ‘just’ £100m are over. The Scot was asked if he worries that clubs might come in for the former Chelsea youth star.
He seemed bullish, suggesting that they may have already missed to boat.
“No I don’t,” he replied on Sky Sports, per The Mirror. “Because there was a bargain to be got with Declan at £100m. That bargain’s now gone.
“So we have a lot of really good players at this football club. I think while you’re building and developing, people might always come and look at your players.
“But it’s good that they are because that tells us that they’re doing well.”
Rice tailor-made for United needs
There has been much talk in recent weeks about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s main problem at Old Trafford. He has an amazing array of attacking talent in his ranks but cannot get the balance of his side right.
The Norwegian needs a defensive screen in front of the back four and Rice would be perfect for the role. They spent big on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane in the summer while Cristiano Ronaldo arrived late in the window.
However, it may be that their biggest outlay is still ahead. Paul Pogba’s United future has been called into question and it could be that the Frenchman makes way for Rice.
But even then the north-west giants would need to find extra cash if Moyes’ prediction proves correct.