West Ham United boss David Moyes has fired a strong message to Manchester United and Chelsea as they continue to pursue star midfielder Declan Rice.
The England man has long been linked with a move away from the London Stadium due to his sparkling performances for both the Hammers and England over the past few seasons. Manchester United and Chelsea have emerged as the most prominent admirers and it appears that a move could have potentially inched closer with Rice having reportedly rejected West Ham’s third offer of a new contract.
It remains to be seen whether that decision will lead to a move in the upcoming transfer window but Hammers boss Moyes has remained forthright on the club’s stance over a potential exit. Talking after West Ham’s slender 1-0 defeat to Chelsea, he said: “We certainly didn’t say that [Rice has rejected a contract offer].
“Unless you’ve got who said it then I can’t say it. We’ve not answered it really have we. I’ve said it and I think we have said what we think. We like Dec and he’s got three and a half years to go on his contract so I don’t think there is any big panic.
“We’ve got three and a half years so it isn’t the biggest priority. We’ve got other priorities, trying to add to the squad and get other positions in.
“Maybe he just wants more money. People do turn down contracts. It is not unusual for players at clubs to turn down contracts, maybe it is a negotiation tactic.”
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The situation surrounding Rice is not too dissimilar to Manchester United’s interest in former Everton star Wayne Rooney back in 2004. The striker became a star both at Goodison Park and for England, Moyes being powerless to stop him from sealing a big-money move to Old Trafford.
He has suggested that any thoughts of Rice waving goodbye to the London Stadium is not currently one of the Hammers’ concerns. “We’ve got three and a half years to go. That is the difference,” Moyes continued.
“I sold Wayne Rooney and Everton got better. It doesn’t always mean that things don’t happen. We’ve said before that we’ve got no intention of selling so I don’t know why you keep asking.”
Rice is in the midst of another highly impressive season for West Ham. He has made 44 appearances in all competitions for the London outfit.
The midfielder has five goals and four assists to his name in all competitions and has been a driving force behind the club’s push for the Champions League places, as well as their run to the Europe League semi-finals. Their hopes took a considerable blow at the weekend though having lost 1-0 to London rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Christian Pulisic scored a late winner for the Blues, sparing Jorginho’s blushes after the Italian had missed a penalty. Craig Dawson was sent off for the Hammers having conceded the spot-kick for a foul on Romelu Lukaku. The result leaves West Ham eight points off of the pace in the race for the Champions League places, with Arsenal now in the driving seat.