By Noel Whelan

26th Oct, 2021 | 5:00pm

West Ham 'worried' about Rice after confirmed transfer news - pundit

Noel Whelan has insisted West Ham will be “worried” about losing midfielder Declan Rice at the end of the season.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 22-year-old “special player” will be “well sought-after”.

West Ham manager David Moyes told Sky Sports (October 24th) that any potential suitors will have to pay over £100million for Rice in the coming windows after missing out on a “bargain” during the summer.

However, the England midfielder’s contract at the London Stadium expires in 2024 – leaving the Hammers in a precarious position.

This site revealed in July that West Ham are preparing to offer him a “mega” new deal to keep him in east London for another year.

However, Whelan claimed a new deal for Rice would simply hand the Hammers the upper hand in any potential transfer negotiations.

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“Even if a player signs a contract, it doesn’t mean they’re going to stay at the football club,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.

“It just gives the club more leverage to ask for a bigger fee if there is a longer contract in place.

“He’s going to be well sought-after. West Ham know that, and their fans know that – we’d be stupid to think that wasn’t the case.

“He’s a special player in a specialist position and good players don’t go unnoticed. He gets better every game he plays.

“He dominates that midfield area and has everything in his repertoire.

“At the end of the season, West Ham are bound to be worried about whether they can keep him.

“At the same time, they could get that £100m fee easily and that could really help them.”

In other news, pundit in awe of ‘best in Premier League’ West Ham star after reveal.