West Ham can keep Declan Rice for next season at least despite claims that Chelsea and Manchester United are planning a fresh approaches for his services.
“We are fortunate to have him in England, West Ham are fortunate to have him,” Lampard told a Q&A for the Willow Foundation.
“He’s a leader and it is clear that he’s destined for great things. I have probably given it away with how I spoke about him. I think it’s common knowledge that I was a big fan of his.
“It didn’t happen for various reasons, but we brought in a lot of players in the summer. But I was a big fan of him. For understandable reasons, West Ham know the player that they have on their hands.
“I don’t want Declan to be in an uncomfortable position through this because all I see from him is absolute performance and desire to play for West Ham.
“They gave him the chance there and the choice will be Declan’s as the years go ahead, but his performances are great to watch.”
Lampard’s sacking seemingly ended Chelsea’s hopes over Rice. But it was reported this week that Thomas Tuchel is also an admirer of Rice and wants to pursue him.
Indeed, they are said to be preparing a fresh £70m bid for the England midfielder. They could even use the Hammers’ interest in Tammy Abraham to try and drive down his price.
They are not the only admirers of course. He’s mentioned as one of four big names the Glazer family want to sign to boost Manchester United’s title chances.
However, with the Hammers on an upward trajectory, pundit Paul Robinson thinks Rice will stay at the London Stadium.
“Declan Rice’s future is an interesting one,” Robinson told Football Insider.
“I don’t think they would be able to keep hold of him without European football. But of course they will be in the Europa League next season.
“West Ham have been the surprise package this season. What David Moyes has done has been nothing short of remarkable.
“They need to re-sign Jesse Lingard. Keeping players like Lingard and Tomas Soucek will encourage Declan Rice to stay.”
European football can keep Rice
Robinson is convinced that the Hammers improvement this year will be enough to sway Rice’s mind.
They finished sixth in the Premier League and will compete in the Europa League next season.
“European football will be enough to keep Rice there for another season,” Robinson added. “But it is key that they show progression again if they want to keep him in the longer term.
“Looking at the here and now, Rice stays. Don’t rule it out. But if the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea come knocking next year, regardless of where West Ham are, he will leave because they are bigger clubs.
“Rice is in a really good place right now, there is not need to move on right now. He is a big fish in a small pond right now and that suits him. But he won’t be at West Ham in three seasons time.”
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