Following his Hammer of the Year presentation (awarded to the best West Ham player every season) earlier this week, West Ham’s Declan Rice has capped off yet another impressive year at the club. The 23-year-old defensive midfielder is also set to finish with his best scoring tally of 4 goals and 5 assists in all competitions for the Hammers. His exemplary performance from the middle of the park also aided the club to reach the Europa League semi-finals this season and only narrowly missing out on making it to the final.
Having put in a good shift in CDM consistently over the past three seasons, Rice has emerged as a top transfer target for many English and European clubs. Manchester United and Chelsea have been interested in procuring his services for a long time. While West Ham have slapped a €150m price tag on the Englishman to stave off interest, both clubs would still be counting their chances as they would be able to offer the player better opportunities to win titles.
However, in the latest twist to this developing transfer narrative, West Ham have reportedly offered Rice a brand new 8-year contract extension. While the player still has two years left on his current contract, this new deal would see a massive increase in wages worth £200,000-a-week. This new deal alongside the €150m price tag both are a clear indication of the Hammers not wanting to sell the player this summer.
While Rice would now be mulling over the prospect of his future, staying and accepting the 8-year long offer has two contrasting implications:
Suffer the same fate as Harry Kane
On the one hand, Rice staying at West Ham could be what Hammers fans want but accepting such a lengthy deal could put him in similar shoes as Tottenham’s Harry Kane.
While the English striker has put up phenomenal numbers and performances by choosing to stick with his ‘home’ club, he has been devoid of titles and trophies which could also be what is in store for Rice if he decides to stay.
By leaving for a bigger club like Chelsea, Rice can win silverware and perhaps one day make a return back to West Ham towards the end of his career like many other great PL players such as Wayne Rooney or Thierry Henry.
Become a West Ham legend while earning mega-money
On the other hand, staying at West Ham would be the safest option as it would secure his footballing career. Currently vice-captain of West Ham, Rice has the potential to captain the side and etch his name alongside the many other great players in the club’s history.
A move to a bigger club would also mean that Rice has to move out of his comfort zone and face competition for the starting 11 spot. Furthermore, while Rice is surely a star at his current club, at United or Chelsea he would only be one of the many stars, sharing the spotlight.
Furthermore, £200k per week is mega-money anyway you look at it. And with an 8-year deal, he is set for life, injury or not. But if he goes to another club, there is a good chance that he won’t be getting an 8-year deal. And then, if he gets injured and ends his career prematurely, he would lose a lot of money. An unlikely scenario but not entirely impossible.
While football’s recent history has provided a glimpse into Rice’s potential future, ultimately the decision rests with the player himself. With the season coming to an end soon, Rice will be sitting down with his entourage to make the final call on his future which as it stands, remains uncertain.