West Ham United are still sweating over the long-term future of Declan Rice. The talented teenager is out of contract in 2020. That has led to teams such as Tottenham and Chelsea being linked with a bid to sign the player, who has not yet decided whether to represent the Republic of Ireland or England at international level.
As reported by The Guardian this week, West Ham are ready to wait until the end of the season to restart contract talks with the player. They suggest that Rice’s entourage want the player to be earning £30,000-a-week, double the £15,000-a-week basic package that West Ham offered last.
West Ham must now start believing that £30,000-a-week is fair for the 19-year-old.
Rice has arguably been West Ham’s best player this season. Whilst Felipe Anderson’s fleeting brilliance, Issa Diop’s defensive stability and Lukasz Fabianski’s assured displays deserve praise, Rice is quietly going about his football with the maturity of a seasoned veteran, not a teenager.
There have been suggestions that West Ham are wary of handing Rice such a lucrative deal because of Reece Oxford.
He is currently on great wages at West Ham after they rushed to sign him to a new deal after his breakthrough. Now, he does not play and West Ham are paying him big.
But Oxford was a fleeting star. Rice is now producing quality week-in and week-out, fully deserving a wage on par with some of the others in the Hammers dressing room.
West Ham should hand him whatever he likes.