CHELSEA NEWS

Todd Boehly told West Ham’s Declan Rice intentions amid Chelsea transfer mission

 

Mark Noble has remained defiant that West Ham won’t be pushed around by the Premier League’s big boys as Chelsea keep up their interest in the 23-year-old. Rice was one of England’s 26-man cohort in Qatar and impressed on the biggest stage as the defensive shield for Gareth Southgate but has long been on the radar of clubs competing in the Champions League.

Chelsea have been monitoring Rice’s situation for a number of years since Frank Lampard expressed his desire to sign the former Cobham academy player but the previous regime were steadfast against re-signing a player for more than £80m. With the Hammers now slowly being ran into a corner regarding his contract, a move away from the London Stadium has never looked more likely.

Rice’s contract expires in June 2024, but in just over one year he can negotiate a pre-contract to leave for free. Given Rice is West Ham’s captain and most valuable asset, this isn’t a situation that would benefit David Moyes’ side.

Now, with new sporting director Mark Noble in position West Ham have some big transfer choices to make, but the former skipper has made it clear of the stance that his side will be taking. Speaking to the Guardian , Noble expressed his resolute position, saying:

“If a top club wants Declan Rice they’re just going to pay for him, full stop. You’ve seen it with Jack Grealish, with the best players. If the top boys want them, we ain’t got a chance.”

Grealish moved for £100m from Aston Villa to Manchester City last summer in a similar contract situation, having been tied down and loyal to his boyhood club. Rice is in the same boat and isn’t expected to force a move away, though his priorities are clear after he continues to stall on negotiating a new deal or signing an extension. Earlier in the month he also spoke openly about his career aims, admitting:

“I’ve been playing consistently well for the club and I want to keep pushing. Like you said I see my friends here who are playing Champions League football, winning the trophies. You only get one career and at the end of your career you want to look back at what you’ve won and the biggest games you’ve played in.”

Chelsea are looking to revamp their midfield in 2023 and see Rice as a priority target in the centre of the park. Next summer he will have 12- months left on his deal and West Ham will be left deciding if cashing in is the best option. Having been previously valued at £150m by Moyes, that price will be reduced every day his deal winds down. Earlier this year the manager said:

“The first thing to say is that he is not for sale If you are interested, well, it will be north of that. “100m was cheap last summer. £150m just now would be minimum but he is not for sale. What I do know is that it means there are only certain clubs that could even consider it.”

Noble accepts that there is a premium for English players though and Rice’s value reflects that, adding:

“A good young English player is worth £40 million. It’s incredible. So if we can produce three or four of them, we’re doing something right.”

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