West Ham could allow Declan Rice to leave next summer and let him “fulfil his potential”, according to Darren Bent.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Sunderland and England striker has suggested David Moyes will understand the Hammers midfielder will need to move on from the London Stadium to develop as a player.

As revealed by Football Insider earlier this month, Chelsea are preparing a fresh bid for the 21-year-old ahead of the January transfer window, although they need to offload two senior stars before they can afford the Hammers ace.

The Blues were heavily linked with Rice over the summer but failed to strike a deal in negotiations with the Hammers.

Bent has suggested the winter window might be too soon for the midfielder to leave east London but confessed he could see a move happening at the end of the season.

Bent told Football Insider: “I think January will be tough because it will be a lot of money but I think at the end of the season, if he has another good year, yeah, West Ham don’t want to lose him but they can also understand this well about a young man’s progress.

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“He’s been very loyal to West Ham, played really well since he got into the team, I think people will understand that you can’t really stand in his way, do you know what I mean? You’ve got to let him go and fulfil his potential, which is obviously a lot, there’s a lot of potential there.

“So I think football clubs, yeah, I know they want to hang on to one of their own but at the same time, I think they need to go and let him fulfil his potential. I think David Moyes would understand that.” 

Rice has played a total of 119 times for West Ham since breaking through the youth ranks, having been released by Chelsea as a youngster.

He has been an ever-present in the Premier League this season, while he has also started seven of England’s last nine games.

In other West Ham news, a top pundit has pleaded with the club to not let Michail Antonio leave the building after a big reveal.