In recent months, manager David Moyes has claimed that he is in fact worth ‘far more‘ than the £100m price tag which has been attributed to him amid what has been a dazzling season for him and his club.
Speaking to the Transfer Tavern, Lee was adamant that West Ham’s internal valuation was justified and hailed Rice as one of the best holding midfielders in the league: “You’re looking at £100 million, maybe £80 million. It sounds ridiculous for a holding midfielder, but he’s the best at it.
“I always say that [N’Golo] Kante was the best at it from both his Leicester and Chelsea days, so for someone so young to do that is unusual, but he’s a good player. West Ham have got to command a huge fee because if they lost him it would be a major blow.”
When the integral nature of Rice to West Ham is considered, Lee’s valuation of Rice has to be taken seriously.
With several years left on his contract, plenty of years left ahead of him in his career and established international experience for England, Rice is nothing less than a highly coveted home-grown asset.
Given that West Ham look front-and-centre in the fight for a European spot this season, West Ham’s focus will be on retaining assets and recruiting smartly in the summer – not cashing in on players.
In that view, the Irons hold all the aces at the negotiating table and are quite entitled to demand such hefty figures for their star pivot.
In other news: Journalist urges Irons to secure major acquisition