For the West Ham United faithful, one thing they have learned to live with is speculation linking star midfielder Declan Rice with the London Stadium exit door.
That doesn’t mean they have to like it, though. BBC pundit Danny Mills will be the latest man to land on their hit-list, as he continues to urge the England international to move on to pastures new.
“He is a fabulous talent with a massive future ahead of him,” he told Football Insider. “You could see him playing alongside N’Golo Kante in the Chelsea midfield. Could he improve Arsenal? Yes. He’d walk into the Arsenal team. Could he replace Fernandinho at Manchester City in the future. Without a shadow of a doubt.”
While true, those aren’t the sorts of words the West Ham supporters will be wanting to hear. They’d be much happier if Rice was simply going about his business, uncapped by England, simply excelling in the Hammers midfield.
Unfortunately for them, he has very much attracted the attention of those outside east London, and Mills is just the tip of the iceberg. There will be plenty of the Premier League’s top teams looking at Rice and believing he’s what they need to take their team to the next level.
The 20-year-old’s homegrown status also doesn’t really help Manuel Pellegrini’s side. The top flight’s best teams will view him as a rare home-grown player who could actually play week in week out for them. That doesn’t bode well for West Ham’s chances of keeping him.
Neither does the ringing endorsement of a former England international like Mills, and so the Hammers fans will surely be urging him to pipe down right about now.
The West Ham supporters are realistic, they know that Rice is likely going to be leaving the club within the next few years. However, they’ll want to keep hold of him for as long as possible, and Mills banging on about a move away won’t please them one bit.