By Beck Pascal

10th May, 2022 | 7:00am

Richard Keys urges West Ham United ace Declan Rice to join Chelsea

Richard Keys has urged West Ham star man Declan Rice to join Chelsea in the summer as the “perfect replacement” for midfielder N’Golo Kante.

The 23-year-old’s future remains uncertain at the London Stadium having turned down his third contract request from the Irons.

Keys insists he can see the Hammers selling the England international if they get the right offer for him.

He wrote in his blog: “The obvious one in midfield would be Rice. (N’Golo) Kante has all but run himself to a standstill. 

“Rice would be a perfect replacement. Would West Ham sell? Of course, they will if the money is right. 

“I’d give you £150m for him all day long. If Rice pushes hard it might not take that much.”

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Kante is certainly having a dip in form but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Chelsea are looking to replace him. 

Despite playing the same positions, they are very different players who have almost opposite playing styles which doesn’t make Rice the “perfect replacement” as Keys says. 

It is difficult to see him leaving this summer with the former Chelsea man still contracted till the end of next season – with a further year potentially being added.

But that seems unlikely given the fact Rice doesn’t want to tie his long-term future down in east London.

A host of teams are going to be linked with the midfielder continuously until he eventually does leave – it always happens with the Hammers’ best players. 

The Londoner will want to stamp his name in West Ham history before he leaves it seems so they can hold fire for now. 

That means taking on the role of the club’s official captain and hopefully, winning a trophy after this season’s Europa League upset.

In other West Ham news, Michail Antonio has been spotted mocking a Frankfurt fan in a pitch invasion confrontation after the Europa League defeat.

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