Former England goalkeeper David James believes West Ham United captain Declan Rice could be enticed by a move to Liverpool.
Rice has been linked with Chelsea and Manchester United over the last two summers. However, West Ham have held firm and, in April this year, manager David Moyes suggested that they could demand over £150 million for the 23-year-old.
Sports Illustrated reported earlier this month that Liverpool are the latest team to be pushing hard to sign Rice. Jurgen Klopp's side have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham, who could command a massive transfer fee as well.
James, who spent three years at West Ham, believes Rice may want to play for a team like Liverpool that is challenging for the big trophies. He told GGRecon (as quoted by the Liverpool Echo):
“The idea of him being a one club man could hold him in better stead when he’s finished playing football, however the player side of me believes you need to maximise everything you can get from the game.
“When you have that talent, the idea of him joining somebody like Liverpool and playing in the Champions League means that you can look back at your career knowing that you’ve challenged for, and won, major trophies. It all depends on what person you are.
“I’d like to think that he wouldn’t want to force himself out of West Ham. I believe it would come down to an open and realistic conversation and I don’t think West Ham would stand in his way if the opportunity arrives for him to join a Champions League competing team.
“Whatever happens, I hope it comes down to a negotiation that everybody’s happy with.”
The former goalkeeper believes, however, that West Ham will do everything they can to keep Rice. He said when asked if the Hammers could potentially lower their asking price for the midfielder:
“Not at all because it’s a business decision. West Ham losing Declan Rice would be massive and I think if the club was to sell him for less than the fans expect, then that wouldn’t only lose the club money but it would lose them faith with their supporters.
“West Ham still have plenty of time to make their season a decent one and at this moment in time it’s about keeping the fans on side, and keeping Declan is a big part of that.”
Rumored Liverpool target Declan Rice has been key to England's 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign so far
Declan Rice, as many expected, has been a starter for England at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Liverpool-linked midfielder has formed a solid partnership with Jude Bellingham, helping the Three Lions win their group with two wins and a draw from three matches.
In those games, Rice has managed seven interceptions, three clearances, three blocks and two tackles from the base of midfield. He has also completed 190 of his 202 attempted passes, with a superb accuracy of 94.1%.
The midfielder is expected to play a key role in the knockouts as well and James believes a stellar World Cup could see Rice leave West Ham United in January. He said (as quoted by the aforementioned source):
“Theoretically, he could leave in January depending on how amazing a World Cup he has. If he’s to leave, then it has to be for market value. I can’t see West Ham selling him for less at all.”
For now, however, Rice will be focused on England's Round of 16 encounter against Senegal on December 3.