- Noble provides Rice transfer update
- Concedes his ambitions go beyond West Ham
- Midfielder rejected new deals with club
WHAT HAPPENED? As speculation over his future continues to snowball, new West Ham sporting director and club legend Noble has spoken out on Rice's situation, with the Premier League's biggest clubs now vying for his signature. Noble has admitted that Rice could well leave the club, and doesn't blame him for showing such ambition.
WHAT THEY SAID: "Dec is no different. Dec will always be hailed at West Ham as a fantastic player and such a top, top person. But I don’t think anyone begrudges him wanting to go and win things," he told the Evening Standard. "We just hope he’ll keep performing like he has been over the last month or so. Wherever Declan ends up, or however much someone pays for him, whether it’s here or anywhere else, he’s worth every penny."
Noble continued: "He’s said openly he loves playing at West Ham, but he has got ambitions as a player to go and play in the Champions League and win trophies. I don’t think any West Han fan can actually have an agenda over that. Do you blame him for having really big ambitions? Of course you don’t. If he didn’t, he probably wouldn’t be as good as he is."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Rice has long been linked with a move to Chelsea, where he spent time as a teenager before being released. But with The Blues having secured a British record transfer to bolster their midfield with Enzo Fernandez, that has opened the door for the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal to try and snap up the 24-year-old.
The Gunners are said to believe they are now ahead of Chelsea in the race to sign him, while a new report claimed United already had a £100m bid for Rice turned down last summer.
IN THREE PHOTOS:GettyGetty ImagesGetty
WHAT NEXT FOR RICE, NOBLE? The Hammers' captain certainly won't make Noble's job easy as he gets to grips with his new role as the club's sporting director. Rice will likely be the subject of endless interest in the summer transfer window, especially if he can be pivotal in steering his side away from relegation.