By Harvey Byrne

West Ham believe they can let experienced centre-back James Collins leave the club with youngster Declan Rice emerging as a “top prospect”, according to a report.

Hammers news website Claret and Hugh have detailed that the club sees the 18-year-old as a bright young star and that he could play a part in Collins’ departure this summer.

The 33-year-old is in his second spell at the east London club after rejoining from Aston Villa in the summer of 2012.

However, his days at West Ham could now be numbered and the report says that if they receive a suitable offer then they will allow Collins to leave the London Stadium.

It is also claimed that the Hammers are not in talks with Collins over a new deal with his current one set to expire next summer.

But, West Ham have also not yet received a formal offer for the Wales international, meaning he could still see out his final year at the club.

Football Insider verdict:

The days of Collins playing in the West Ham backline should be well and truly gone. Yes, the Welshman is a good professional and also showed to wear his heart on his sleeves for the club with many no nonsense displays. However, it is now time for the club to move past players of his calibre and look at blooding bright youngsters like Rice, who has made just one senior appearance for the club so far. West Ham already have experienced trio Angelo Ogbonna, Jose Fonte and Winston Reid fighting for the centre-back positions and now is the time for the club to bring someone younger into the mix.

In other West Ham transfer news, the Hammers have signed up Ghanaian who is now waiting for international clearance.

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