Arsenal great Ray Parlour has backed Declan Rice to continue his stay at West Ham beyond the summer amid mounting speculation suggesting the player will look to leave at the end of the season.
THE LOWDOWN: MEMORABLE SEASON
Rice scored as the Hammers secured a historic 3-0 win in the Europa League quarter-final second leg last night in Lyon to advance to the last four.
The midfielder doubled the visitors’ lead just before half-time as they reached their first major European semi-final in 46 years.
Last week 90min reported that Manchester United were prepared to smash their transfer record to land the midfielder while it is thought the 23-year-old would prefer a return to his boyhood club Chelsea, who are also interested.
But Parlour thinks he will stay beyond this summer, and go on to become a West Ham “legend”.
THE LATEST: PARLOUR HAS HIS SAY
Speaking on talkSPORT this morning the three-time Premier League winner said:
“I’m sure there is lots of clubs waiting to see if they can get Declan Rice but I think he will stay there for a few more years yet.
“He really respects the club, given opportunities to play first-team football and you know whatever happens in the future, he will be a West Ham legend. When he leaves, he will still get a standing ovation from West Ham fans because he shows the desire – exactly what you want from a young player.
“You can see the passion, he wants to win every single game for West Ham. I’m hoping he stays for another year because he will be bought sooner or later.”
THE VERDICT: TIME WILL TELL
Last month, Rice told ESPN he had an “urgent” desire to play Champions League football “as soon as possible” and with the Hammers’ victory last night they have a huge chance of dining at Europe’s top table next season by winning the Europa League outright.
The hopes of a glamour tie with Barcelona were dashed by Eintracht Frankfurt but on paper at least the club have an easier semi-final to overcome to reach the showpiece.
Manager David Moyes has declared before that it would take at least £150m to lure the England international away from the London Stadium but with his contract not up until 2024 and with the option of a further 12-months they have the upper hand when it comes to negotiations either way.
Clinching continental glory would not only see the east London club create a memorable occasion for the ages but they could secure the long-term future of Rice, as tipped by Parlour.
Champions League football is what he craves and if he has the opportunity to play at that level in an Irons shirt then there is a huge chance he could stick around.