It’s true that any player is only worth as much as another club is willing to play, but a star player is also worthless to a team if they down tools and demand to leave.
West Ham haven’t quite reached that point with Declan Rice yet and his attitude does seem to be admirable when you consider the club is in absolute disarray just now.
He’s been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea recently, with a recent report suggesting they would be looking to focus on signing Rice once they get a goalkeeper sorted, but they weren’t willing to match West Ham’s price tag of €80m.
There are plenty of signs that things are not well at West Ham, but the entire situation surrounding the departure of Grady Diangana tells you everything you need to know.
He only played 21 times for The Hammers so there’s no way that losing him was a major issue in isolation, but it just emphasised everything that was wrong with the club and may also be the straw that broke the camel’s back in this case.
The Evening Standard reported that David Moyes had denied the player’s anger over that situation had impacted their performance last night, but the fact that the question was even asked shows that it’s a major problem.
If we look at things from Rice’s point of view, what are the reasons for him to actually stay at West Ham in the long term?
The owners appear to be incompetent and they have a proven failure of a manager, they’ve been moved away from their home and now play in a soulless stadium, talented youngsters are being sold when the club was always famous for developing these players and giving them a chance, and there is no positive feeling at the club.
If he has the chance to move to Chelsea then he’ll be joining a team with genuine ambition, he’ll play with some great players and have the chance to win trophies and it should help his international ambitions too.
The only reason for him to stay at West Ham would be out of loyalty, but that’s also a two way street.
The only positive thing about West Ham is the passion of their fanbase, but the actual club are giving the players little reason to be loyal to them and you get the impression they treat the entire club purely as a business – there’s no passion or ambition behind the scenes and that’s something that can take years to bounce back from.
You can be sure that Rice’s advisors are urging him to get out and he should be looking to make the move too, so if he starts to put pressure on the club to let him go then they’ll be forced into accepting a lesser bid.
It might still take a few weeks to get to a point where an agreement is reached, but Chelsea should be very confident of signing Rice when you look at everything that’s going on.