Let’s trade congratulatory messages to set the right tone, shall we? Congratulations to West Ham for winning the Europa Conference League trophy, the club’s first major trophy in 43 years. Congratulations to David Moyes for winning the first major trophy of his managerial career. Congratulations to us, apparently, from West Ham owner David Sullivan for showing our class and and restraint in waiting until the Hammers finished their season before bidding for the player.
Asked if the Hammers victory over Fiorentina would be Rice’s last match for West. Ham, Sullivan said “I think it has to be. We promised him he could go. He set his heart on going. You can’t ask for a man who has committed more to us this season. In due course, he has to get on and we have to get a replacement – or several replacements. We offered him £200,000-a-week 18 months ago. He turned it down. It’s cost him £10million to stay at West Ham in that time [in lost wages]. And he wants to go.”
That’s a pretty direct statement. He’s probably shown in the picture above both congratulating Rice and bidding him farewell. That’s got to be a bittersweet moment.
At our end, it seems that Sullivan appreciates our restraint. Sullivan was also asked if he had received any bids before the ECL final. “No. But I think the offers will start to come today. There are three or four clubs who have shown interest, but out of respect to West Ham, while we’re still playing, you don’t make offers for players. That’s not the way decent clubs do things.”
Okay, so that’s less-direct; he’s admitted that there are several clubs interested but that none have submitted bids, so it’s not as if we’re knights in shining armour over here while the others are a bunch of Snidely Whiplash types. Still, it seems that we may have learned a lesson or two after our overly-aggressive pursuit of Caicedo back in January. One advantage that we may have over Rice’s other suitors is Arteta’s close relationship with David Moyes, dating back to their time together at Everton. Arteta made 209 appearances under Moyes and has spoken effusively of his admiration for his former manager.
Let’s hope he can build on that and off of the positive impression he and Edu seem to have made on Sullivan. It’s a bit worrisome to see other clubs make moves (such as Mac Allister joining Liverpool for what seems like a pittance), but we’ll just have to trust the process.