Paul Merson makes bold claims about West Ham and Declan Rice

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West Ham are pushing to win the Europa League this season, which would result in automatic qualification for next season’s Champions League.

Rice is in the form of his life and will be hoping to express himself at the highest level shortly. Leaving the club for one of the ‘big six’ would be his easiest option to achieve this, but Paul Merson believes he doesn’t have to leave The Hammers.

“I think West Ham win the Europa, I think they’ll be too strong for the other teams in it,” said Merson, speaking to Sky Sports.

It’s not going to be an easy task, but they’ve already proven they can battle with the big boys when they defeated Lyon over two legs.

“If that happens then it’s going to be hard for him (Rice) to get out of the club. Because then he’ll have to turn around and say ‘You’re not big enough for me’,” added Merson.

“If they don’t get into it then he can turn around and say ‘I need Champions League football, it’s a dream of mine’. But he could get that at West Ham so it’s a bit of a Catch-22 (situation),” said Merson.

Clubs looking to sign Rice may be reluctant to as he hasn’t proven he can perform in the Champions League. If West Ham manage to qualify and he stays another season, clubs around Europe may be willing to pay the monumental transfer fee David Moyes’ side are demanding.

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