By George Overhill

1st Feb, 2022 | 8:31pm

talkSPORT journalist says January shows why Declan Rice will leave West Ham in the summer

Declan Rice will leave West Ham in the summer because of what happened during the January transfer window, according to talkSPORT’s Alex Cross.

The reporter believes the moves that were not made add up to the star midfielder departing at the end of the season because of the lack of ambition, and that one mooted move shows the club knows that.

Spealking live on talkSPORT on Tuesday (February 1, 11.30am) Cross said: “If they’re looking for Kalvin Phillips that suggests to me that they’re paving the way for the departure of Declan Rice, and I fully expect Declan Rice to leave West Ham next summer.

“I think he wants to play in the Champions league. If you look at his post-match interviews… he’s already suggesting that maybe the club’s ambitions don’t match his own”.

Additional reports are already emerging that support this position, including one from The Telegraph that suggests Chelsea, and the two Manchester sides will return with bids.

Painful developments

It is bad enough that nobody arrived during the window from a purely footballing perspective, considering how crucial the next few months are going to be at the London Stadium.

But if they have contributed to the exit of the Hammers’ star man that is even worse.

The England international has already been the subject of interest from the top clubs in England for some time, and with West Ham making a concerted push to join that group this season, January could end up being a sliding doors moment.

Whether the mooted £50million offer for Rice’s England midfield partner was likely to come off or not, actually making such a signing was the kind of intent that the club needed to show right now.

They have not been as close to breaking the glass ceiling at the top of the Premier League for a long time, and a final push to get there might have secured an extended stay.

As it is one of the men most important in getting them there and keeping them there may now leave, and to one of the clubs competing for those places.

It may have been inevitable anyway, but the club’s best chance of keeping hold of him would have been to show the ambition needed and qualify him for the Champions League in East London.

In other West Ham news, this reliable journalist shares why West Ham may have left it so late in January.