By George Overhill

13th May, 2022 | 7:10am

Declan Rice dismissed West Ham United contract offer as stunt for David Sullivan's benefit

West Ham star Declan Rice felt the headline-grabbing eight-year contract he was offered by the club was for David Sullivan’s benefit, according to The Sun.

The England star has been mooted as a key transfer target for Manchester United and Chelsea for some time, but the club are not willing to sell him and have put a £150million price tag on him.

The extra-long deal was not something Rice wanted as it is apparently Champions League football rather than more money he is interested in, and he apparent saw the offer as a ploy from the co-owner to look like he was making a grand statement. Sky Sports have now reported that the offer was rejected.

The Sun report said: “SunSport understands the £10million-a-year package is being viewed by Rice’s side as West Ham co-owner David Sullivan playing to the crowd.

“There is a belief within the club that no-one will be willing to match that asking price this summer and that Rice will remain a Hammers player for next season.”

Classic move

It isn’t much of a stretch to see Rice’s position on the deal, as that is the exact same accusation that was levelled at the club’s attempted transfer dealings in January.

The result has been the same both times, as none of the targets in the winter window arrived, and the stand-in skipper hasn’t agreed to the new terms.

David Moyes was very happy to be backed by record offers for Raphinha, Kalvin Phillips and Darwin Nunez in January, but there was a feeling from various quarters that there was no chance of success with any of them.

The manager certainly doesn’t want to lose his best player, and has done a decent job towards the goal in repeatedly mentioning how massively expensive he will be.

While it looked like a summer exit was at one point inevitable, the ownership situation at Chelsea may have had a bearing on a further year at the London Stadium becoming the most likely outcome.

If the team can actually strengthen in the summer and a successful run at Champions League qualification is made next season, there looks like there is a route to keeping the 23-year-old long-term.

But if Sullivan is focused on making himself look like he’s doing things rather than getting actual results that will be harder.

The bare bones of a quality side has got as far as the semi-final of the Europa League and is pushing to qualify again for next year, so with the right additions the admittedly major task of breaking into the top four doesn’t have to be a fantasy.

In other West Ham news, Jeff Stelling has predicted the result of the Manchester City game but his Sky Sports colleague thinks otherwise.

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