West Ham have confirmed Declan Rice will leave the club this summer following their Europa Conference League final triumph.
The 24-year-old captained West Ham to glory in Prague on Wednesday night as Jarrod Bowen’s 90th minute winner claimed a 2-1 win over Fiorentina to ensure the Hammers clinched European glory.
It was a fitting end to Rice’s time with the east London side, but the England international refused to confirm his future amid growing speculation over a move to Arsenal this summer.
“It’s not a goodbye yet,” the midfielder said post-match. “Look at the moment there’s a lot of speculation about my future.
“There is interest from other clubs, that’s out there, but ultimately I’ve still got two years left at West Ham (one year plus option).
“There hasn’t been nothing yet (offers). Let’s wait and see, who knows.”
Rice looks to be set on a move to Arsenal, who are yet to make a bid, but West Ham chairman David Sullivan has confirmed an agreement is in place with the player to reluctantly allow him to leave in the coming weeks.
Sullivan told talkSPORT: “I think it has to be (his final game for West Ham). We promised him he could go. He set his heart on going. You can’t ask for a man who has committed more to us this season
“In due course, he has to get on and we have to get a replacement – or several replacements. It’s not something we want to happen. We offered him £200,000-a-week 18 months ago. He turned it down.
“It’s cost him £10 million to stay at West Ham in that time (in lost wages). And he wants to go. You can’t keep a player who doesn’t want to be there.”
A move to Chelsea is extremely unlikely, at this stage, with the Hammers likely to command a fee in excess of £100 million, but there is still hope should they wish to make a late swoop due to no agreement being in place with any club.
Sullivan expects bids to start being lodged now that West Ham’s season is over, adding: “No (there haven’t been any offers yet). But I think the offers will start to come today.
“There are three or four clubs who have shown interest, but out of respect to West Ham, while we’re still playing, you don’t make offers for players.
“That’s not the way decent clubs do things.”
It’s now or never for Chelsea. If they want Rice, they have to move now. Otherwise, they will have to settle on other targets, like Moises Caicedo, and ensure they bolster their midfield adequately enough to try to bridge the gap to the likes of Man City and Arsenal as they prepare for the 2023/24 campaign under Mauricio Pochettino.