By George Overhill

3rd Jun, 2022 | 8:10pm

West Ham United move for Yves Bissouma could help keep Declan Rice long-term

West Ham could kill two birds with one stone if they sign reported transfer target Yves Bissouma, because of how highly Declan Rice rates him.

The star Irons midfielder looks likely to remain at the club for the 2022/23 season after transfer speculation throughout the previous campaign.

But after turning down the club’s offer of a massive eight-year contract that would have paid him £200,000-a-week, it is believed he is more interested in the Hammers showing the right ambition by adding to the squad than just making more money for himself.

A strong start in that direction would be to bring in a midfield partner for him who the England star himself rates as one of the top five in the Premier League at the position.

The 23-year-old told BT Sport that the Brighton player was up there alongside Manchester City pair Rodri and Bernardo Silva, Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic, and outgoing Manchester United star Paul Pogba.

While the chances of landing any of those four seem pretty remote, Bissouma is set to leave the Amex and the club do have him on their radar according to 90min.

Strong message

Considering his importance to the entire project at the London Stadium, it would make sense that the club want to keep Rice happy.

Slapping a £150million price-tag on his head and then hoping for the best isn’t going to be good enough for long.

The midfield department needs additions, with little in the way of support behind current starting pair, Rice and Tomas Soucek.

The club were throwing big numbers around in January without appearing to be in much danger of actually spending any of them.

And while the Malian international won’t be cheap he would probably be worth the investment thanks to the duel purpose of his own ability and the reassurance it would give the club captain.

Claret & Hugh report that Bissouma would cost around £40million and that the club have not made any move for him.

Considering they were trying to get Kalvin Phillips for £50million in the winter but had little chance to do so, and won’t now either, it hardly seems beyond them to make this one happen.

Rice shouldn’t be given the reins to decide who comes and goes but this transfer window is surely being conducted with at least half an eye on how he will view the situation when he contemplates his future.

He’s made clear how highly he rates the Seagulls man, who is available, so if they haven’t made an approach yet it would be a surprise if they don’t make one soon, before the likes of Jose Mourinho do.

In other West Ham news, an upcoming talent looks like he is heading out of the club as a Premier League rival stocks up its academy.

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