West Ham manager David Moyes has reiterated to Arsenal and Chelsea that in order to sign Declan Rice they'll have to stump up a British-record transfer fee - and then some.
Both Arsenal and Chelsea have been strongly linked with the West Ham captain, who Moyes has maintained will cost a pretty penny if he were to leave the London Stadium. Rice, 24, has been one of the Premier League 's best central midfielders for the past three seasons and a key player for England at two major tournaments.
With his contract only running until 2024, a host of clubs are monitoring Rice's situation and snuffing out a price tag - although West Ham are expected trigger a one-year extension clause. After Chelsea broke the British transfer record with their £105million signing of 22-year-old Argentine midfielder Enzo Fernandez, Moyes has made it clear that his club's asking price will be far greater as a result.
The Scottish boss declared after West Ham's 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on Saturday: "Declan was a top player in the first half, he showed so many things. Undoubtedly he’s going to be a top player and undoubtedly he'll be a British transfer record and more whenever he leaves West Ham."
Asked if his star's departure now feels inevitable, Moyes replied: "I hope it's not! A lot's been said about it and when you see what's been happening with prices, I think Declan will be blowing that out the water when it comes around."
It's widely anticipated that a bidding war will commence this summer for Rice's services, with the former Chelsea academy prospect - released by the Blues at the age of 14 - keen to make the next step in his budding career. "One hundred per cent I want to play in the Champions League," the 24-year-old affirmed as he helped England reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup in December.
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"For the last two or three years I've been saying that. I've been playing consistently well for my club and I feel like I really want to keep pushing. I see my friends here who are playing Champions League and for big trophies. You only get one career and at the end you want to look back at what you've won and the biggest games you've played in."
While Rice has personal links with Chelsea following his time in the Blues' youth setup, the Guardian recently claimed that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is a big fan of Rice and the feeling is mutual.
If the Gunners were to not only secure Champions League football with a top-four finish but also win their first Premier League title in 19 years, Arteta and co would be a much stronger position to attract Rice than their London rivals.