Rice price too high at £150 million - By: David Billington | Dailytrust

Rice price too high at £150 million

Declan Rice
Declan Rice

There is a standoff at West Ham with Declan Rice refusing an offer of an eight-year contract worth £200k a week. Declan’s agents believe he can command almost double that with one of the big six clubs in the Premier League or in Europe. He has now rejected three deals but my West Ham insiders told me the club will fight hard to keep him. The Hammers are confident that no one will offer their valuation of Rice which is £150 million. Both Manchester clubs are searching for midfield replacements with Matic, Mata and Pogba set to leave United in July and 37-year-old Fernandinho will call it a day at City. Chelsea are due to strengthen their squad in the summer with fresh owners pumping in new money but Thomas Tuchel has said they could not pay £150 million.  

Haaland goes house hunting in Manchester

I have just spoken with Manchester City and as I write this column the club are preparing for the arrival of European scoring sensation Erling Haaland who will join them in July and play in their pre-season tour of America. 21-year-old Haaland travelled to Brussels for a medical on Monday and his agents accepted a deal worth £400k a week which matches the salary of City’s top earner Kevin de Bruyne. Erling already has his own people looking for suitable property around the Manchester area. He is very close to his parents, brother and sister and wants a home where his family can spend time with him. Dortmund have agreed a figure of £63million to release Haaland to City. City coach Pep Guardiola is now turning his attention towards signing a midfielder to link up play with Rodri in the centre and whereas Paul Pogba has been mentioned, I am hearing from United that Juventus are pressing them quite hard to start negotiations to take the Frenchman back to Italy 

Clubs circle around Lingard

Following Ralf Rangick’s refusal to allow Jessie Lingard the chance to say goodbye to Manchester United fans, the winger’s agents immediately contacted several clubs regarding a move in June. Newcastle and West Ham have emerged as current Premier League favourites to sign him however I have discovered that Juventus, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain are also showing interest. Rangnick brought on Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata who both took the opportunity to wave their goodbyes in United’s final home game whereas Lingard was left angry and upset on the bench. Incoming coach Erik ten Hag has suggested that Jessie waits until his arrival but the 29-year-old is totally disillusioned by the treatment from his boyhood club.  

Players who are relegated will earn less

I mentioned in this column last week that if Leeds are relegated they would lose key midfielder Kalvin Phillips. This story has gathered pace during the week and I have learned that Leeds’ stars Raphinha and Patrick Bamford will also be walking through the exit door. If those stars stay they will probably suffer pay cuts because their contracts include clauses which stipulate reduced relegation salaries of between 20 and 50 per cent. 

Conte jokes about wish list

Antonio Conte made me laugh this week. The club has lost Oliver Skipp, Matt Doherty and Japhet Tanganga to long term injuries and Conte is desperate to keep his remaining players fit and available. He denied that he has given managing director Fabio Paratici and chairman Daniel Levy a summer list of players he wants to sign. He then joked that he has not prepared a list because it would be too hot to handle!  

Can Frank keep Erikson at the Bees?

Brentford manager Thomas Frank sat in his office with Christian Erikson and told him that his main priority is to keep the Danish international at the Bees for next season. He then offered him a new deal with longer terms to replace his six-month deal which ends in June. Thomas said later, “It is very simple. I speak to him. He is my midfield playmaker and he has done an excellent job since joining us. We are presenting our plans to him and discussing it back and forth. We’ll do everything we can to keep him and I believe we have a very good chance. I know he is happy here and is enjoying his football.” The 30-year-old is a target for Newcastle, Manchester United and Tottenham but Frank believes he can persuade Christian that west London is where he should be.  

Arsenal search for two new strikers

Arsenal have again made contact with Inter Milan regarding Lautaro Martinez and are offering a possible place in the Champions League next season. Arsenal have already confirmed with me that they intend to bring in two new strikers and Martinez joins Manchester City’s Grabriel Jesus and Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin on their shopping list. Martinez would cost the Gunners £60million and this season he has scored 17 goals and totals 54 in 132 league matches and seven in 23 Champions League games. The Argentinian, called “The Bull”, is aggressive and possesses speed and versatility.

Spurs or Arsenal players in for big bonus payments

Tottenham players will divide a £3.5million bonus payment if they qualify for the Champions League next season. They have been promised £1m for finishing fourth in the table and £1.5million if they finish third. The money will be put into a treasure chest which rises to the £3.5million during next season. Several players also have personal extra Champions League qualification bonus payments built into their contracts. Arsenal players are due to receive £3million to be shared between them if they make the top four.    

Secret of Villa and Gerrard’s success

I spent some of this week discussing Aston Villa’s success this season and the club believes it has resulted from manager Steven Gerrard’s clever way of setting up his teams. He likes to vary his attacks, changing the shape of it from week to week so opponent coaches cannot train against what they expect Villa to do in a match. He regularly changes his approach using a midfield diamond shape 4-2-3-1 one week but then switches to a 4-3-3 for the next game. He has also identified his strongest attacking line-up with Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins operating as joint strikers with Philippe Coutinho playing between them as a false number 9.  

Eze is the new Zaha

Patrick Viera says that Eberechi Eze is going to be a big star of the future for Crystal Palace and Wilfried Zaha’s eventual successor – praise indeed! After a difficult period out of the team with an achilles injury he has worked hard in training and is sharper than ever according to Viera. The 23-year-old was visibly delighted with his first goal since returning during the game against Southampton last weekend. Currently Zaha is already ahead of his seasonal scoring record with four games to go and Eze and Zaha together are a threat to any defence with strong skillful play and a thirst for goals.

**Palace are hoping they can buy back Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Manchester United this summer. The 24 year-old left Palace for £45million in 2019 but has been told he can leave despite having two years left on his contract.

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