It’s been a long time since West Ham have had a player come through the academy and establish themselves as an important first-team member, but Declan Rice has shown everyone up this season.
The England international has had an incredible rise to stardom this season, establishing himself as the most important midfielder in the Hammers team and looking likely to be part of Gareth Southgate’s set-up for many years to come, and it’s likely to be a long summer for the youngster, who has attracted interest all over the continent.
And following the conclusion of West Ham’s 2018/19 season, Manuel Pellegrini’s comments on the 20-year-old, who is valued at £31.5 million on Transfermarkt, were a little more than worrying for fans. Speaking to the press via football.london, the Chilean said: “It is impossible to say (if Rice will stay).
“I cannot know the future. He is a player that has had a brilliant season, is 20 years old, English under 20 so he has a lot of quality, age, nationality. All of the big teams will want him. That is one thing and this other if he will stay or if he will go I cannot say in this moment.”
Teams will be looking at those comments with the ambition they can swoop Rice from under West Ham’s noses, but if there’s one player the club should be keeping hold of this summer it’s their academy star.
Felipe Anderson has posted the most impressive numbers season, sure, but without Rice, West Ham are a much worse team than without their Brazilian winger, and Pellegrini has the funds and time to be able to build the team around the 20-year-old anchorman.
A big bid for Rice might be tempting, but Pellegrini must do all he can to make sure the England international remains in east London this summer.
West Ham fans, should keeping hold of Rice be a priority? Let us know!
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