Undoubtedly the news that no West Ham fans wanted to hear, Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini has accepted that midfield starlet Declan Rice could potentially be on the move this summer.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of hosting Everton at the London Stadium on Saturday evening, Pellegrini said it will come down to a ‘matter of price’ as to whether or not the 20-year-old stays put at West Ham this summer.
Enjoying a standout year in the capital, Rice put pen to paper on a new five-year deal with the Hammers back in December that saw him extend his stay until the summer of 2024.
⚒️ "It is just a matter of price"
Manuel Pellegrini admits Declan Rice could leave West Ham this summer if 'big teams' pay important money.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) March 28, 2019
Featuring in all but three of West Ham’s Premier League fixtures this season, Rice has cemented himself in Pellegrini’s squad and is seen to be one of the leading contenders in the race for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
With his performances also seeing him pick up the Young Player of the Year accolade at the London Football Awards last month, Rice is seen to be a future captain for the Hammers.
Despite being released by Chelsea at the age of 14, the 20-year-old has risen through West Ham’s youth ranks and his performances have seen him earn a spot in Gareth Southgate’s England squad this month.
After very publically swapping his allegiance from Ireland to England, Rice was handed his first start for the Three Lions in their 5-1 win away at Montenegro earlier in the week.
While Pellegrini made it clear that he was not surprised to have seen Rice earn his international call-up, the former Manchester City boss has admitted it could be a tough task to fend off the Premier League elite this summer.
“In that case, as always, it is just a matter of price,”
“There are big teams who decide to pay an important amount of money: sure, if it is a good deal for the club and the player and improves his career then we can do it. But I don’t know nothing about that yet.”
Seen to be the long-term holder of England’s #4 shirt, it is unsurprising that Rice appears to be a player topping many a transfer wishlist this summer.
With Manchester United officially announcing that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has signed a three-year-deal at Old Trafford, The Daily Mail are reporting that the Reds remain a firm admirer of the central midfielder.
Expected to hand their new permanent boss quite the transfer treasure chest, the former Premier League champions could be looking to break the bank in order to secure Rice’s signature.
It has also been reported that United’s bitter-rivals, Manchester City, are also interested in the 20-year-old and see him as a long-term replacement for Fernandinho.
If West Ham are forced to sell Rice this summer, how much do you think England’s latest star is worth?
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