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Arch-rivals take decision on contract talks with 23-year-old Chelsea target

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West Ham ready to delay contract talks with Declan Rice. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

West Ham United ready to prolong contract talks with Declan Rice amidst Chelsea interest

According to Evening Standard, West Ham United are willing to prolong talks with Declan Rice over a new contract amidst interest from Chelsea. His long-term future at London Stadium is far from certain, which is why his side has been keen to renew his contract for quite some time.

Rice is currently tied down with West Ham until 2024, although they do have the option to extend his deal by another year. They are eager to renew his contract, but he has rejected all offers, even the one that would have made him the highest-paid player in the club’s history with £200,000-per-week in wages.

However, it seems that now the Hammers are ready to wait it out and restart the negotiations after the summer transfer window. Dialogue between both parties would remain open, but they will not make a new offer until after this summer. They are under no pressure to sell and are confident that they will keep the Englishman past this term.

West Ham ready to prolong contract talks with Declan Rice amid Chelsea interest.
West Ham will not make a new contract offer to Declan Rice until after this summer. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Can Chelsea sign Rice?

David Moyes’ side has set an asking price of £150million in transfer fees for the 23-year-old, which is outrageous, to say the least. That valuation in and of itself should prevent the West London side from targeting him, which seems to be the case following Thomas Tuchel’s admission last month.

The defence should be given our utmost priority, considering how Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are set to leave for free this summer. Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso could follow suit as they have been linked with a move to Barcelona, just like Christensen.

As such, the centre-back and the wing-back positions should be where our focus lies at the end of this season. Hence, spending such a ludicrous sum on Rice would not be wise even though we could use a man of his quality in our ranks. But it appears that we may have to stop our pursuit and target him sometime in the future.

Chelsea are keen on signing Declan Rice. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Chelsea are keen on signing Declan Rice. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Fortunately, Manchester United, who are also interested in signing the West Ham talisman, may not be able to target him this summer. That does give us leeway in this transfer race, although we would hope that Rice would not sign a contract extension moving forward.

After all, we need to replace the likes of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante moving forward, which would be a difficult task indeed. We would need world-class players to compensate for their eventual exits as they near the end of their playing careers. Rice could have been suitable in such a case, but it would be best to shift our attention to defence for now.

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Then again, one could argue how Rice can also deputise in that position. If Tuchel sees him playing there, then by all means, the club would be wise to at least try their hand at signing the ex-Cobham prospect. Then again, the financial aspect of any deal is something the club must also take into account before making any decision.

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