DECLAN RICE has a big decision to make this summer – and it’s not about staying at West Ham.
Every team in Europe is dying to sign the future England captain at the end of the season, although few can afford it.
But even the handful of clubs that can meet the Hammers’ demands will leave Rice with a dilemma as he considers all of his options.
Because how do you vote when Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester City are all on your doorstep?
The fact that West Ham still have an option to extend their contract until 2025 is irrelevant.
Whether they stay in the Premier League or not, they know their best player is going. Rice practically confirmed that last month when he said he was dying to play in the Champions League.
Because that’s not going to happen at West Ham any time soon.
Because of this, he has already turned down an offer of a new EIGHT-YEAR contract from the club, which would happily make him their highest-paid player in the blink of an eye.
There are about a dozen players at the London stadium who currently earn more than Rice, including left-back Emerson Palmieri, Ivory Coast winger Max Cornet and reserve keeper Alphonse Areola.
But that’s often the case with players who graduated from the academy rather than signing the big bucks from another club.
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But it’s not about the money for Rice. It’s about competing at the highest level and savoring the last drop in your career.
He will have seen his 29-year-old England team-mate Harry Kane – who signed for Tottenham back in 2011 – still waiting to lift his first major trophy at the club after signing on to a lucrative long-term deal five years ago .
And he won’t make the same mistake at West Ham.
He will also have noticed how his pal Jack Grealish, 27, gave up being a big fish in a small pond at Aston Villa to win the Premier League in his very first season with Manchester City.
The only question now is which club offers him the best opportunities to fully exploit his talent in the prime of his career.
At just 24, he has the potential to become one of the best defensive midfielders in the world in the next ten years.
Just last April, David Moyes said West Ham would not consider selling their captain for less than £150m.
But now the consensus is that he could go for a little over half that amount, especially if the Hammers are relegated to the Championship.
Yet with so many serious clubs using his services there is plenty of potential for a bidding war that will take this fee to UK record levels.
Although Chelsea fired Rice from her academy when she was 14, she wouldn’t be ashamed to break the bank to bring him back.
But like Liverpool, there’s every chance they won’t be able to offer him Champions League football next season despite the two being the last English clubs to win it.
City only play with one midfielder and already have Rodri and Kalvin Phillips on their books.
Clearly a rising force, Newcastle have the resources to outdo anyone if they can secure a top four result this season.
But it’s Arsenal or Erik ten Hags United that offer the most logical career path for Rice and with both clubs appearing to be on the rise, there could be a head-to-head shootout between the resurgent giants this summer.
Either way, West Ham fans should make the most of their best player while they still can.
UTD CAN SMELL RAT
MANCHESTER UNITED fans are understandably excited at the news that “Britain’s richest man” is looking to buy the club from the Glazers.
The fact that Sir Jim Ratcliffe lives abroad as a tax evader will not dampen their enthusiasm.
But financial experts have put his personal fortune at £6billion – and the Glazers want at least £5billion.
That doesn’t leave much money for someone who clearly hates the idea of wasting their money on such avoidable expenses as income taxes.
And after losing at Chelsea last spring, United shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for the takeover.
CHELSEA manager Graham Potter says they cannot keep trying to get out of trouble or they will end up with a 30-man squad.
I hate being the bearer of bad news, Graham, but the matchday schedule for last week’s game against Crystal Palace already listed 33 Blues players.
And that didn’t even include the club’s £88million new signing Mykhailo Mudryk.
Potter joked that he hopes he’ll still have a job when Mudryk’s remarkable new contract finally expires in 8½ years.
Good luck with it. Me? I just hope I’m alive in 2031.
Britain’s top referees have knotted to justify Manchester United’s equalizer against neighbors City last week.
But they defend the untenable because anyone who knows anything about football could see Marcus Rashford was offside and the goal should never have been allowed.
And if the rules of the game say otherwise because he didn’t interfere in the game, then the law sucks.
SPURS are threatening to give the supporter who kicked Aaron Ramsdale in Sunday’s 2-0 home loss to Arsenal a lifetime ban.
More than 500 season ticket holders have already spoken.
LEAF INTO THE FUTURE
FIFA has claimed that five billion people have “engaged” for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
What does that even mean?
But then very little coming out of the governing body of world football makes more sense.
TV channels covering the winter finals have reportedly been ordered to show at least one footage of Fifa President Gianni Infantino at every game.
But they weren’t allowed to film him on his cell phone, even below knee height, sitting next to one of his seedy dictator buddies in the plush stadiums out in the desert.
Come back Sepp Blatter, everything is (almost) taken.
A MOVE to rename the Severn Bridge the Gareth Bale Bridge was KO’d by a House of Lords committee.
They were probably concerned that the bridge, which connects England and Wales, would be out of service for nine months every year.
EMMA’S MISSION IMPOSSIBLE
TENNIS star Emma Raducanu has defended her commitment to the sport by declaring, “I give 200 percent in everything I do.”
That probably explains why the British ace, 20, has suffered so many injuries – she’s been trying to do the impossible.
Ice skater Kamila Valieva has been cleared by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency despite her positive test ahead of last year’s Winter Olympics.
They announced that although the 16-year-old took banned heart medication, she bore “no fault or negligence” for the offence.
And who could possibly doubt the word of such a trusted organization?
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/7179841/declan-rice-arsenal-man-united-arsenal-transfer/ Declan Rice is guaranteed to leave West Ham… and Arsenal and Man Utd are his most logical transfer targets