West Ham are ready to offer Declan Rice an improved contract in a bid to fend off interest from Chelsea, according to football recruitment consultant Ian McGarry.

Rice, 21, has been the subject of a lot of speculation in recent transfer windows due to how impressive he has performed at the London Stadium despite his age.

The defensive midfielder has already been capped 10 times by England and has 104 Premier League appearances to his name.

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Chelsea have been strongly linked with re-signing their former academy player with The Sun reporting that the Blues were ready to pay £40million in the most recent transfer window.

Clearly, a move failed to materialise but McGarry claims that West Ham are choosing to be proactive ahead of January to ensure that Chelsea cannot turn Rice’s head when the transfer window re-opens.

“West Ham to their credit, have offered Declan Rice and his representatives the chance to come and discuss an upgrade on his current deal,” McGarry told Sunday Times journalist Duncan Castles on the latest episode of the Transfer Window Podcast.

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“Now Duncan, his current deal actually was extended in December 2018 until 2024. Now my understanding is that the upgrade itself will not necessarily be an extension of that contract because obviously, that is already long-term. Plus, I understand there’s a one-year option on both sides to extend to 2025.

“What they will do is offer him a pay rise and better terms and bonuses, in order to try and keep Chelsea at bay in terms of any move in January.”

As McGarry points out, Rice does have a long time left on his current contract but nowadays, the length of deals means very little if a player’s head gets turned by transfer speculation.

Rice is a West Ham lad and we have no doubts about his commitment to the club at the moment, especially as they’re the club that have helped him achieve his dream of playing for England.

However, there may come a time when Rice feels that he needs to leave to seek regular European football and compete for silverware.

We would accept that if that happens but please, not Chelsea.

In other West Ham news, West Ham’s fixture scheduled is finally starting to ease up.

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