Ex-West Ham striker Tony Cottee believes Hammers captain Declan Rice will depart the London Stadium at the end of the season.
The England international has been heavily linked with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United and Cottee believes the midfielder has made the decision to leave in order to further his career:
“When you don’t win things, it is hard, and the money side is not easy either. If West Ham had a successful team that was winning things, Declan wouldn’t be leaving. There would be no reason to leave.”
“He will leave this summer. I said all along that the moment they lost to [Eintracht] Frankfurt in the Europa League semi-final last season was the moment Declan knew he needed to leave. If they had won that and won the Europa League and got into the Champions League, why would he leave?”
“Now we are at the stage where Rice is in the prime of his career and wants to play Champions League football. As long as his exit is handled correctly, and I think it will be because he is a really good lad leading in the right way, I don’t think any West Ham fan would begrudge him.”
Cottee is certainly not the only one who is convinced that Rice will be sold this summer, but there has been a lot of debate about the player’s valuation.
Respected journalists, including The Athletic‘s David Ornstein, have suggested that the Hammers may be willing to part ways with their talisman for as little as £75m to £85m.
Considering Rice effectively has two and a half years left on his contract, that seems a very low figure. TalkSPORT‘s Jim White claims the asking price is much higher at £120m (plus add-ons) so we shall see who turns out to be correct.