By Peter Lynch

21st Mar, 2023 | 6:10pm

Fabrizio Romano drops Declan Rice transfer update, major Premier League club ‘really appreciate’ West Ham midfielder

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is “super appreciated on the market,” with Premier League rivals Arsenal particularly interested in signing the Hammers captain, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.

The Italian transfer expert has revealed that Rice will definitely not sign a new deal with his current club, and will leave the East London outfit this summer as Arsenal and Chelsea circle.

Rice has been with the club since 2017 but has long been linked with a switch to a club playing regularly in Europe’s elite competitions like the Champions League and Europa League.

“I can confirm, it’s true that many clubs still love Declan Rice, he’s super appreciated on the market,” Romano said on his YouTube channel (20 March, 4 mins). “Arsenal, internally, they really appreciate the player and discussed Rice as one of the players they like in that position.

“Same for Chelsea, we know the connection between Chelsea and Rice. So these clubs have already discussed internally about Rice. At the moment nothing has been discussed with West Ham, a lot will depend on West Ham, how much they will ask in the summer, but Rice and the feeling around Rice is very clear; summer 2023 is going to be the opportunity for him to try something different.

“I already told you last year that Rice was not going to sign a new deal with West Ham, and this is still the case. Now for Rice, the feeling is, it’s time to go, it’s time to try a different challenge.”

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Time to go?

Rice has been a superb servant in claret and blue, and while West Ham have been preparing for his exit for some time now, they will still be very reluctant to let him leave.

But the midfielder will continue to give his all for the Hammers from now until the end of the season, with West Ham also in for a huge payday from one of their Premier League rivals.

Such money can be used for an immediate replacement for Rice, with David Moyes and his staff having perhaps already identified a player who can come in to fill the gap.

But Rice’s boots will be difficult to fill, with the captain putting in consistently high displays every week, wearing his heart on his sleeve in every West Ham match.

Many supporters will not be able to forgive him if a switch to London rivals Arsenal or Chelsea does come about this summer, but there will be a contingent who will be happy to see their beloved midfielder playing at a higher level.