Opinion: West Ham should simply ward off interest in their 21-year-old star and hold onto him


Why West Ham must hold onto Declan Rice amidst exit links

According to the Daily Mirror, West Ham are considering to sell their star midfielder Declan Rice amidst interest from rival Premier League clubs.

The West Ham midfielder’s consistent displays have seen him grow into one of the top defensive midfielders in the Premier League. Despite beng just 21, Rice has already played 100 games for the Hammers, giving a clear picture of his talent.

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is all smiles after his side's victory in the Premier League.
West Ham midfielder Declan Rice all smiles after his side’s victory in the Premier League. (Getty Images)

After having a breakthrough campaign in 2017/18, Rice became a key member of the team last year, making 34 league appearances. Rice’s efforts did not go unnoticed. He received a national team call up from manager Gareth Southgate the following summer and has since then been an England regular.

To date, he has played seven games for the Three Lions, following his debut in March last year. With his performances on the pitch maturing with time, Rice has now attracted the likes of fellow Premier League sides such as Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea (h/t Daily Mirror).

However, the Hammers would be putting themselves in a spot of bother if they listen to offers for their young talent. Having played 2610 minutes in the league, he is one of the players who has spent the maximum time on the pitch.

Declan Rice (Getty Images)
Declan Rice has been a consistent performer for West Ham this season. (Getty Images)

A hardworking and tireless holding midfielder, Rice is also fourth in the list of players with most tackles. He has made 87 tackles this term and is behind Ricardo Pereira (119), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (99), and Wilfred Ndidi (91) in the Premier League.

Rice the only reliable face in the middle for West Ham

Rice’s excellent defensive abilities in the middle played a part in West Ham’s eighth place finish last season. His rise as one of the key players at West Ham was evident given the fact that they had finished a lowly 13th in the season (2017/18) prior to it conceding 68 goals.

Moreover, new boss David Moyes’ Hammers lack depth in the defensive midfield role with on-loan star Tomas Soucek and veteran Carlos Sanchez being the only back-up options. However, Moyes faces a tougher task if he lets Rice depart as Soucek’s loan spell is set to expire this summer.


Meanwhile, veteran Sanchez just turned 34 last February and is way past his prime. His mere six league appearances are a testament to the fact that he is clearly not in the manager’s plans at the moment. In addition, his contract is also expiring at the end of the season.

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This means West Ham will have to spill the cash in the summer for a new man in the middle, especially during a time of extreme financial crunch due to the coronavirus crisis. With the club already having one of the best defensive midfielders in the league, it would be foolish if they let Rice under the circumstances.


Given Rice’s consistent displays in the last two seasons, it is clear that he is one of the key players for West Ham at the moment. Also, his defensive versatility is an added bonus for boss Moyes, who can use him in the centre-back role as well. Hence, West Ham must ward off interest from other clubs for their star midfielder and keep him close.