‘Now is not the time’ – Former Chelsea striker advises £100m star against joining Chelsea

Declan Rice
Photo: Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images

The likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City have all been linked with a move for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice.

The 23-year-old has earned the praises coming his way, and is a top player for West Ham and England.

Declan Rice who left Chelsea at age 14, has gone on to make 150 appearances for the Hammers while also winning 32 caps for England.

Meanwhile, former Chelsea and West Ham striker Carlton Cole has claimed that Rice shouldn’t be thinking of leaving West Ham yet.

Rice has so far turned down a new contract for the club and is said to be keen on playing Champions League football. But Cole doesn’t think he should leave yet.

He told The Sun: “Declan is obviously really important. Obviously, there’s speculation about his future here, there and everywhere.

“But right now I just don’t feel it’s the right time for him to be moving on.”

Rice made 50 appearances in all competitions for the Hammers last season, scoring five goals and providing four assists. 

Cole has told Rice to trust the ongoing project at West Ham, and cited that it could be disastrous losing many key players in one transfer window.

He added: “I think he’s at a club where they have expectations to push on and I think as long as he understands the project and he knows his place within the team.

“We can’t lose too many [players]. We’ve just lost Mark Noble and I think we’ve got a few others that we’ve lost now so we have to bolster and we can’t be letting our best players go at the moment.”

Cole, who played 293 times for West Ham and also made 34 appearances for the Blues, also maintained that Rice isn’t irreplaceable.

He concluded: “If it does happen and someone comes in with an offer that we can’t refuse [for Rice], then it’s just the way it is.

“We’ll reshuffle the pack and nobody in that West Ham squad isn’t irreplaceable. You’ll always get a few diamonds in the rough and we have found a load of them.”

Rice is being valued by West Ham at £100m, and his current deal with the club expires in 2024.