West Ham United believe they can transform into a ‘real force’ in the Premier League by keeping hold of Declan Rice and will not entertain any bids for the midfielder, according to reports.
The Hammers are gunning for Europe after becoming galvanised under the leadership of David Moyes and Rice has become one of the focal points of the team, earning high praise from the likes of Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry – who called him the best defensive midfielder in the world.
West Ham want Declan Rice to be a key part of their future and are planning to reject any bids, according to reports
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel (L) and Man City coach Pep Guardiola are thought to be keen
His displays in the middle of the park have led to huge interest from some of the top Premier League outfits – including Chelsea, where he started his career, Man City and Manchester United, but the Sun claims they will find it tough to lure him out of the London Stadium.
West Ham are intent on building their future around the 22-year-old and feel they can regularly challenge for Europe with him in their side, the report adds.
Rice is seen as ‘a symbol of what West Ham stands for’, and they want him centre-stage, especially with Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky expected to pay £150m for a 27 per cent stake in the club.
The midfielder has been one of the stars of the season and West Ham want to keep hold of him
Even if any of the big sides put in a bid as high as £100million, West Ham would still reject it, it says.
Last month his manager Moyes said any club bidding that amount of money would have been getting ‘a bargain’, but now says that deal is off the table.
‘There was a bargain to be got with Declan at £100m. That bargain’s now gone,’ he said. ‘So we have a lot of really good players at this football club. I think while you’re building and developing, people might always come and look at your players. But it’s good that they are because that tells us that they’re doing well.’
David Moyes warned clubs that they missed a ‘bargain’ to land him for £100m this season
Rice himself is enjoying working under the Scot, and is savouring the opportunity to play in the Europa League as their vice-captain this season.
‘The manager has just said to me to go out there and do what I do best and given me the confidence to go out there and perform,’ he said.
‘To be fair, that’s all you can ask for from a manager. I’m really lucky that I’ve got him as a manager and that we’ve got a really close relationship.
‘Captaining West Ham in Europe is a really special moment every time, putting the armband on and walking out with thousands of us in the stadium.’