Declan Rice and West Ham have reached a ‘gentleman’s arrangement’ for him to stay at the club for one more season before leaving next summer.
According to talkSPORT’s Alex Crook, the England international ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ to end up at Chelsea.
Rice, who is expected to take over as West Ham captain following the departure of Mark Noble, has been extensively linked with a move away from the club this summer.
Following another outstanding season in east London last season, both Chelsea and Manchester United were considered the frontrunners for his signing.
Rice still has two years left on his contract, with the option of a further year so the Hammers aren’t in a position where they need to sell.
The club have also offered him two new contracts, both of which the England star has rejected!
Crook believes Rice will stay at West Ham for another season, with his next move influenced by his connection with Blues player Mason Mount and ties to his previous boyhood club.
“It wouldn’t surprise him if he ends up at Chelsea in the long haul,” Crook told White and Jordan on talkSPORT.
“People feel that he might have a bit of unfinished business there, possibly similar to Nathan Ake – it looks like he will be on his way back to Stamford Bridge from Man City.
“We know about his friendship with Mason Mount. Simon [Jordan] will probably tell you that that doesn’t really come into play when players pick their new clubs, but they do have a really strong bond.
“I think Declan Rice will give West Ham one more year.
“I think there’s almost a gentleman agreement that he will do that… although we know they don’t mean much in football from the Harry Kane saga last summer.
“I expect him to leave next summer and if Chelsea are a Champions League club, if they finish in the top four as I would expect them to, I think they’ll be right there knocking on West Ham’s door.”
So, Chelsea is expected to be in pole position to sign the England international this time next year.
The Blues have been connected with the midfielder since he was 14 years old.
However, the England international has stiff competition!
According to reports, Manchester City and Manchester United are also interested in signing the brilliant 23-year-old this summer.
Liverpool and Newcastle are two other likely destinations for the midfielder.