The January transfer window hasn’t even begun, but West Ham United have already secured a piece of business which will surely be their most important of the winter. Less than 24 hours after yet another stellar performance, this time in a 2-1 win against Southampton, it was announced that Declan Rice had signed a new contract.
This new deal will see him stay in claret and blue until 2024, with the club holding the option to offer him an extra year on top of that. His contract negotiations have been long and drawn out, with the board offering less than was seen as acceptable numerous times. Rice had received criticism from some for not accepting the previous offers, with others using his decision to think over his national allegiances having represented Republic of Ireland three times as a stick to beat him with. The time taken over these decisions have led some to question him.
However, most would say that these two decisions are ones he was right to take time over. Most importantly he hasn’t allowed speculation to interfere with his game. Rice has shown incredible maturity and consistency both on and off the pitch, which is impressive for anyone with all those questions hanging over their head. For him to deal with all of that at the age of 19, while maintaining a high level of performance in the Premier League, is highly impressive.
He’s already made his 50th appearance for the Hammers- which came in the 2-0 loss against Watford. During that game and the victory at St. Mary’s, among other matches, the club’s supporters could be heard chanting ‘Sign him up’. Now that his contract is sorted, West Ham fans can enjoy watching the academy graduate in the heart of their midfield without having to worry about losing him. Rice is someone they’ve taken to their hearts due to the way that he conducts himself on the pitch; there is a clear pride to see someone from the academy who has an affinity with the club excelling to this level.
Rice is an integral part of the team now, having started each of West Ham’s last 17 matches in all competitions. His manager has been complimentary of his performances and the way he’s dealt with everything that’s come his way, including that he feels the 19-year-old has a bright future ahead of him.
Tomorrow’s match against Burnley sees Rice face the team that he made his debut against just 18 months ago. It is a testament to his ability and attitude to see how far he’s come in the time since that two-minute cameo. He and his team mates will be looking to secure back to back wins after losing their previous winning streak against Watford, as they look to push further up the table.
That will be the last match the Hammers play before the madness of the January transfer window begins. According to numerous sources it is highly likely that Samir Nasri will be signing for West Ham on a free transfer. Aside from that many feel that, with the form the men in claret and blue are have shown in December, there isn’t much need for too many reinforcements. Everyone’s just happy that Declan Rice’s contract is sorted.
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