West Ham legend predicts the Irons will lose key player next summer

Former West Ham United man has his say on key player’s future

West Ham United legend Tony Cottee believes the club will lose Declan Rice if they fail to make the top four this season.

The midfielder has been a key player for the Hammers over the past five years and has established himself as one of the best players in his position in the Premier League.

Rice, 23, has played 195 times for the London club and has also made 32 caps for the England national team so far in his career.

Cottee has his say

Cottee rose up through the youth ranks at West Ham, just like Rice, and played 255 games during his first spell before returning for a second stint in 1995.

He also played for the likes of Everton, Leicester City, Birmingham City, Norwich City and Millwall.

The ex-striker has had his say on Rice’s future at the London Stadium, as per BETDAQ: “West Ham have done well to keep Declan this season. It was important that they stamped their authority and put a ridiculous price tag on his head - £150 million.

“If you don’t pay £120 million for Harry Kane, you’re not going to pay £150 million for Declan. But the further into his contract he is, the cheaper he will be, and this time next year, you might be able to pick him up for £90 million or £100 million, which is more realistic for the big boys.

“I can honestly say Declan is good enough to play for any of the top six clubs in this country, as well as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Municn, PSG... Name any club in Europe, he is good enough to play there. I hope West Ham can keep him, but I fear the worst, as all West Ham fans do.”

West Ham have reportedly put a £150 price tag on their star midfielder, who has been linked with a handful of top-six clubs.

Rice is under contract at West Ham until June 2024 meaning David Moyes’ are under no financial pressure to cash in on him just yet.

They will have been relieved to see Manchester City sign midfielder Kalvin Phillips in his position earlier this summer.

Cottee added: “The only way they can potentially keep him is for West Ham to get into the Champions League for next season. And I think that could be a step too far for them this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a year’s time he’ll be lining up for his new club.

“West Ham fans will wish him well because he’s given his heart for the club and he wants to win something. That was ultimately why I left West Ham 35 years ago – you get frustrated that the club aren’t winning anything.

“And when he goes to the England squad and talks to the Man City or Liverpool boys, and they’re talking about winning stuff and playing in the Champions League, that’s what he’ll want to do.

“He’s not getting any younger. He’ll be 24 this time next year and he’ll want to play Champions League football. Unless West Ham finish in the top four I think we’ll see Declan playing for somebody else next year.”

West Ham’s first match of the 2022/23 season is this weekend against champions Manchester City at home and they will be eager to start with a positive result.

They then have a trip to newly promoted Nottingham Forest on 14th August.