Arsenal’s hopes of luring Declan Rice away from West Ham received that massive boost courtesy of David Moyes, who has previously been rather tenacious in his insistence that Rice would not be leaving West Ham any time soon. Fueling a sense of pessimism around such a move was West Ham’s recent climb out of relegation and towards mid-table mediocrity and safety. However, Moyes’s comments, related by Fabrizio Romano, have kicked the door on Rice’s departure wide-open.
Moyes said, “we’re fully aware there’s a good chance we don’t have Declan Rice here next season. Our plans are to have Dec—we hope he stays, that’s biggest thing. We’d love him to be a West Ham player but we are aware that might not be the case. That is one scenario”. Not sounding to tenacious there, is he? Hoping he stays suggests that the matter is out of the club’s hands. Even if West Ham do stay up and win the Europa Conference League—which looks increasingly possible after they won the first leg over AZ Alkmaar and FC Basel did the same over Fiorentina—Moyes’s comment sounds quite defeatist. In fact, winning that piece of silverware may actually serve as a fig leaf over Rice’s depature—the club winning its first silverware since 1980 could allow Rice to leave claiming he had led the club to glory and was off to his next challenge.
To be honest, if the player wants to force his way out, the player can spin their reasons and the circumstances any which way. Fail to win that Europa League Conference? “I want to go where I can win silverware.” Win that some trophy? “I’ve led this club to glory, but it’s time to take my career to the next level. Thanks for the memories!” And so on.
Assuming he’d want to stay in London, would Arsenal be his first choice? Chelsea just bought Enzo Fernandes and can’t offer European football. Tottenham are a mess. They might be able to offer some version of European football. Brentford, Fulham, and Fulham can’t offer any European football. We’re the winners by default!
It might be too soon to order your new kit with “Rice” on the back (if you do, though, only for Rice not end up at the Arsenal, I guess you could tell your tormentors that it’s a nod to Pat Rice. With parallel stories suggesting that Granit Xhaka (or at least his wife) might be dreaming of a return to Germany, seeing this newer Rice at the Arsenal starts to make more and more sense…