West Ham transfer news: Fresh claim emerges on Declan Rice future as PL rivals plot swoop

West Ham United manager David Moyes

Declan Rice is more likely to stay at West Ham if they qualify for the Champions League but did have his head turned last summer, says journalist Dean Jones.

Rice was the subject of interest from Chelsea, who still look to be very keen on the 22-year-old.

What is the latest news involving Rice?

According to football.london, there is an expectation that the Blues will make a move for their former academy player at the end of the season.

Reports elsewhere suggest that Manchester United and Manchester City also like Rice, so there could end up being a real battle for the midfielder next summer, while West Ham will obviously be desperate to keep hold of him.

He has become such an important player for the Hammers, offering not only protection in front of their defence from the holding midfield role but also progression. 

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Although they lost, Rice picked up a 7.7 WhoScored match rating in his side’s recent 2-1 defeat to Tottenham in the Carabao Cup after making two key passes and registering a 96% pass success rate.

On the night, only attacking midfielder Nikola Vlasic made more key passes (3), while Manuel Lanzini was the only West Ham player with a higher pass success rate (98%). 

What has Jones said about Rice?

Amid all the interest, Jones thinks the 27-cap England international had his head turned last summer. However, the transfer insider believes West Ham still have a good chance of keeping hold of him if they manage to qualify for the Champions League.

When asked if that would help the Hammers’ cause, Jones told GIVEMESPORT: “Yeah, definitely. I think last summer he had his head turned.”

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Can West Ham qualify for the Champions League?

When you look at the table, they are definitely in the conversation. However, it is not going to be easy, especially with so many good teams like Arsenal and Tottenham around them.

You also have to worry about their squad depth, which has been tested this season by the Europa League and injury. 

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The east London outfit have been without Angelo Ogbonna and Kurt Zouma and their form has dipped in their absences, something former Chelsea and Scotland winger Pat Nevin recently touched on.

Fortunately for manager David Moyes, the transfer window is now open, giving him the chance to bring in defensive reinforcements and possibly more. If that gets done, then it will give West Ham’s chances of securing Champions League football a huge boost. 

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