By Jonty Banks

25th Mar, 2023 | 9:10am

West Ham United transfer news as Paul Merson reacts to Declan Rice for England

Paul Merson believes West Ham United captain Declan Rice is worth closer to £60million and hasn’t been helped by his £100million price tag this season.

The Hammers midfielder played a fundamental role in England’s 2-1 win against Italy in their first Euro 2024 qualifier on Thursday night (23 March), scoring the opening goal and setting Gareth Southgate’s side on their way.

However, Merson, writing in his column for the Daily Star, admitted that the likes of England captain Harry Kane should be £100million-rated instead of Rice, but that the 24-year-old would produce the attacking returns that his critics are craving if he moved to a move attacking side such as Arsenal.

“Declan Rice had a very strong game in the middle of the park,” he wrote when looking back on the victory against Roberto Mancini’s Italy side.

“The £100m price tag that’s been placed on his head really hasn’t helped him. Now his critics are saying, ‘Well, he’s not worth £100m’ and the way that comes across, it’s like he’s not rated when he definitely is.

“I like Rice, he’s a top player but he’s worth closer to £60m. Kane is a £100m player.

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“My fellow pundits have said he doesn’t score enough but his game isn’t really about that, although I do think he would score more if he played in a more attacking team such as Arsenal.

“I expect Rice to leave West Ham in the summer, I don’t know who he will join but it’s time for him to move on.”

Touch harsh

To say Rice is only a £60million player is extremely harsh when putting on some West Ham-tinted glasses.

Considering that Jason Sancho cost £73million, having never played in the Premier League, while Arsenal splashed out £72million on the mercurial Nicolas Pépé from Lille, Rice should be worth at least this value, if not more.

Rice is entering the prime of his career at 24 years of age, has vast amounts of Premier League experience under his belt, and has been capped 40 times for his country already.

There is simply nothing to dislike about the Hammers captain.

People throw jabs at his lack of goals he has scored for West Ham United this season, but he has reached the same amount as Manchester United star Casemiro and Rodri in the Premier League (2) this season.

How people are expecting Rice to be notching up 7+ goals from the base of midfield for a team who are fighting for relegation is ludicrous.