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West Ham playing with fire over Rice contract

Filed: Tuesday, 25th September 2018
By: Staff Writer

Talksport guest Danny Higginbotham has accused West Ham of dragging their heels over a new contract for Declan Rice.

Speaking on Talksport's Alan Brazil breakfast show this morning, Higginbotham - who represented Derby, Southampton and Stoke (amongst others) during his career - said that West Ham faced losing the 19-year-old for a nominal fee should they continue to refuse to cooperate.

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According to reports, the club have offered Rice £15,000-a-week - considerably more than the £3,000-per-week he is currently thought to earn. However the offer has been rejected by Rice's representatives, who are holding out for considerably more.

"You have to put it in perspective," said Higginbotham. "Yes, 15k-a-week is a lot of money, but itís not in football and not in the Premier League. A lot of other clubs would be willing to double that - thatís the problem for West Ham.

"West Ham should have started contract negotiations a while ago, because the player holds all the cards now. Heíll be going into the last 12 months of his contract in the summer and if youíve got a young player who you believe in, you just donít do that.

"You shouldnít really do that with any player Ė if you allow a player to go into the last two years of his contract, they hold all the cards and it becomes a big issue. Thatís West Ham problem for allowing that to happen with Declan Rice."

Rice, who joined West Ham from Chelsea in 2014 has been in an out of Manuel Pellegrini's first XI already this season but performed superbly in his most recent outing, against unbeaten Chelsea, at the weekend.

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And team mate Pablo Zabaleta is under no illusion that the current Irish international possesses all the ingredients to go and become a major force in the Premier League.

"Declan is young, he still has room for improvement for sure, but you can see he has the right attitude and ability to be become one of the greatest players for West Ham," Zabaleta told West Ham's website.

"He looks so mature and he has proven week in, week out that he can perform for the team, so as a teammate for me he is one of those young players that you like to look after and all the information I can give to him I will.

"We donít need to put so much pressure on him now, we need to help him to keep improving. Itís step by step and then letís see how far he can go as a player."

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