West Ham legend Mark Noble believes West Ham can’t stop Declan Rice from joining Chelsea.
England international Rice is one of West Ham’s key players, with his performances attracting Chelsea.
Speculation in the summer linked him with a move away, but he has remained at the club for the current campaign.
However, Noble believes that West Ham may not have the financial muscle to keep hold of the 23-year-old in the future.
“Whether you think things will get dicey at West Ham – and I don’t believe they will – we just can’t cope financially with the top teams,” he said to the Guardian.
“We can try our hardest to recruit the best players that the top five or six don’t buy – and we might get lucky with a few that slip through the net – but you can’t compete with these teams.
“They’re financially too powerful. If a top club wants Declan Rice they’re just going to pay for him, full stop. You’ve seen it with Jack Grealish, with the best players.
“If the top boys want them, we ain’t got a chance.”