There has been previous speculation in the summer that Chelsea and West Ham had a gentleman’s agreement regarding Rice, where a transfer had been agreed but the captain would spend one more year at the London Stadium before moving to Stamford Bridge in 2023. However, Rice’s comments upon arriving at Old Trafford may indicate where he wants to play his football in the future.
“It’s inspiring for sure, it’s Old Trafford,” Rice told Sky Sports before the game as he gazed across United’s stadium. “You think of the heritage, the big games that are played here, the players that have played here. You want to come here, stamp your mark and get a win yourself.
“I think every time you play against United, Bruno’s [Fernandes] the one I have to look after, he picks up good pockets, good spaces, always wanting to get on the ball. But we need to focus on their three, they’re performing well so it’ll be a tough match-up.”
Despite Rice reportedly turning down new contracts at West Ham, his current deal takes him up to 2025 should the club activate the option of an extra year, and if he was to leave next summer then David Moyes’ side would receive a hefty fee for their star man. “You’ll need humongous money to get close,” Moyes said in February when asked about the prospect of Rice leaving the club.
“I said in the summer that I thought Declan Rice was £100m. That was the sales, that was cheap, that was your chance to get Declan Rice cheap.
“He’s like a special edition. For me, he’s probably the best midfield player in Europe. He’s here for certainly a few years. He’s under contract and we are pleased to have him.”