By Beck Pascal

13th May, 2022 | 11:10am

West Ham United ace Antonio shares 'unbelievable' Declan Rice contract view

Michail Antonio has branded West Ham United teammate Declan Rice “unbelievable” amid the 23-year-old’s ongoing contract saga. 

The England international most recently snubbed a £200,000 per week, eight-year deal, worth £83million [Sky Sports] – his fourth new contract rejection. 

Hammers striker Antonio has held back no praise for the midfielder who still has a lot to give – insisting he will be happy for the former Chelsea man no matter what he decides to do with his future.

“Dec has not even touched his best yet, he is unbelievable,” he told Sky Sports.

“What I see every day in training – he’s got so much more, he’s got so much more to learn but what he is doing right now is up there with one of the best in the Premier League already. 

“And the Premier League is one of the best leagues in the world so for me to say he is not at his best yet – I say in the next two, three years that’s when he will be at his best. He will be unbelievable. 

“He won’t let anything outside of football distract him, he will do what he is doing on the field and keep concentrating on that.

“Whatever happens, happens for him – and obviously I enjoy playing with him. Everyone wants to play with the best and I would love to keep playing with him for as long as possible. 

When asked if he had tried to convince him to stay in east London, Antonio replied: “I am a person who doesn’t like to convince anyone to do anything, I want them to be happy in their own body so whatever Dec wants to do I’ll be happy for him. 

“I love him as a player, I love him as a person, so his decision is his at the end of the day.”

Inevitable.

Rice is one of – if not – the best players to play for West Ham in the club’s recent history. The fact he could go down as a Hammers legend already at 23 tells you everything you need to know about the Englishman. 

That status was somewhat hindered after the Irons failed to go on and reach the Europa League final and lift a European trophy but there is still plenty of time left for him to add a trophy to the London Stadium cabinet before he inevitably departs. 

After the most recent contract offer, the club need to cut their losses. If an £83million deal, making him the highest-paid player in the club’s history isn’t enough to keep him in east London then nothing will and they are embarrassing themselves with continuous attempts. 

In all honesty, they have done themselves no favours with the new offer. Why would a player who is uncertain about his future suddenly commit to the club for almost a decade? It doesn’t make any sense.

Take the money and reinvest it back into the squad and hopefully, the youngster can give them one or two more enjoyable nights before he leaves.

In other West Ham news, Martin Samuel has responded to the latest West Ham London Stadium developments dubbing it the “deal of the century”.

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