West Ham are confident of fending off Chelsea’s interest in Declan Rice for the time being (Picture: Getty)
Rice has long been linked with a return to Chelsea – where he rose the the academy ranks before being released aged 14 – and his outstanding Euro 2020 campaign at the heart of England’s midfield has only amplified speculation of an impending transfer.
Thomas Tuchel is keen to revive Chelsea’s bid for Rice after Frank Lampard’s pursuit ended in failure last year but West Ham are confident of keeping hold of the youngster and have slapped an £80million price tag on their prized possession.
And though Rice rejected two contract offers from the Hammers prior to the Euros, recent reports suggest there is a growing sense of optimism at the London Stadium that the 22-year-old is set to put pen to paper on a bumper contract extension.
Rice had an impressive campaign with England at this summer’s European Championships (Picture: Getty)
It’s understood any agreement would see the England international become West Ham’s top earner in a six-figure deal, with the club also ready to make him captain when Mark Noble departs at the end of next season.
‘He was probably one of England’s best midfielders in the final,’ Parlour told talkSPORT when asked about rumours that Rice will sign a new contract.
‘He’s a great player. I’m sure they will come to an agreement where he signs a new contract and that secures West Ham as well.
‘So West Ham now will get top money for him if he does move on, a little bit like Jack Grealish when he signed a big five-year contract.
‘Aston Villa know someone will have to pay big money now for Jack and Declan will be the same.’
Parlour reckons Rice will stay put this summer (Picture: Getty)
The ex-Arsenal and England midfielder added: ‘I think it’s down to the player and I’m sure there will be a lot of takers for Declan Rice after the Euros he’s had as well.
‘But I think one more season at West Ham wouldn’t do him no [harm], skipper as well. That’s a big thing for him.’
Grealish is among Manchester City’s top attacking targets this summer (Picture: Getty)
Rice’s England team-mate, Grealish, meanwhile, has been heavily linked with Manchester City, who are reportedly prepared to spend in excess of £100million for the attacking midfielder.
But Villa are growing increasingly confident that Grealish will agree to their eye-watering contract offer worth £150,000-a-week.
‘It’s great news for Villa fans if he does stay. We all know what a special talent he is,’ Parlour said.
‘But a deal will suit both parties when he does leave – if he does leave. I know reportedly Manchester City were in for him, Pep Guardiola said they’d spend £100million or whatever on him so that will be brilliant for Aston Villa in that respect and I’m sure Villa fans would be absolutely delighted and he’d still be a legend at Villa.
‘Certainly, sooner or later, he probably will move on. I’m sure Villa fans will be realistic and understand that he does want to win trophies, that he wants to go to maybe a City where he’s going to challenge for Champions League trophies and the Premier League.
‘But at the moment, if he wants to stay another year, then he’s still got plenty of time on his side and Villa fans will be delighted because they know he’s a real talent and he’s going to get better.
‘He’s proved he can handle situations and people were itching for him to get off the bench for England so if he does stay that’s fantastic news for Villa and when he does leave, they’ll get top money for him.
‘Then they can invest in two, three, four players for the club so it’s win-win both ways for Villa fans.’