Every week we’ll be asking West Ham fans on Twitter and Facebook for questions that will be answered by our editor, James Wood. You can join in by liking West Ham Zone on Facebook or following James on Twitter, and watching out for weekly mailbag posts.
Declan Rice has come on leaps and bounds at West Ham over the past three seasons, and it seems now the rest of the football world is taking note.
The 22-year-old was outstanding for England in their World Cup qualifiers. He was voted the player of the match against Albania and Poland as the Three Lions won both games.
Rice completed 96.4% of his 171 attempted passes over the two matches [WyScout]. This season he has led the Hammers to new heights in the Premier League. With nine games to go, we sit fifth in the table.
We asked for your burning questions about the Hammers this week for West Ham Zone editor James Wood to answer. One fan wanted to know if we will be able to keep Rice at the club this summer.
After such an impressive campaign it’s getting to that time of the year when transfer speculation begins. Now a fully-fledged England international, West Ham are bound to have a challenge to keep Rice at the club.
David Moyes is certainly going about it the right way. Just last month, the boss said that Rice was worth ‘far more than £100million’ (Telegraph). What could also work in our favour is the Covid pandemic. Clubs could be less willing to part with large sums of cash this summer due to the financial hit of the last 12 months. That, and if we qualify for Europe could hopefully be enough for him to stay for at least another season.
But if for whatever reason Rice was to move on this summer, where would he go? One potential suitor is Manchester United (Manchester Evening News). The Red Devils are in desperate need of a top-quality holding midfielder, Rice is by far the best in the league. Another club linked has been Liverpool (Daily Express). They look set to lose Georginio Wijnaldum to Barcelona this summer, and Rice has been shortlisted as a replacement.
But what do the pundits say? Speaking to talkSPORT recently, Troy Deeney claimed Rice could leave for £60million this summer if he has a good European Championships. He says West Ham will struggle to hold onto him if a bigger club comes in and offers enough money.
Rio Ferdinand also had his say on the FIVE podcast. Back in January, the retired centre half claimed Rice will inevitably be on his way out of east London soon. He said: “I think it’s inevitable that he is going to go.
“If I’m being realistic it’ll be the summer and it would be Chelsea if he gets his wish. I think West Ham will want to get as much as they can. Without Covid, I think they would be wanted to get £70million plus, but with Covid, it’ll be around £50million.”
As Rice develops more and more each game, it’s becoming evident that he won’t be a West Ham player forever. A player of his quality and drive will inevitably end up playing at the very highest level. Unless we qualify for Europe and heavily invest, he could well be off next summer, if not this.