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West Ham skipper Declan Rice has attempted to squash transfer speculation linking him with a move away from his side until the summer ahead of the Europa Conference League final against Fiorentina next month. The midfielder has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal this summer, with Manchester United and Bayern Munich also monitoring his situation closely.
Rice has been one of the Hammers’ saving graces this season, with the midfielder playing a vital role in steering his side to safety. David Moyes’ side are resigned to losing their captain at the end of the season, though negotiations will only take place when the campaign has truly concluded and if their asking price – expected to surpass £90million – is met.
Arsenal reportedly believe that they lead the race to sign the 24-year-old, though the player has assured West Ham supporters that his future is not at the forefront of his mind. Asked about transfer rumours, he said: “I have not really focused on any of that.
“My main focus this season since after the World Cup has been getting us out of the relegation battle and winning this trophy, my heart is set on that. Everything else is just noise and speculation.
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“I can’t help that, it comes with playing. Doing it for the club, my family and the fans – that is my only focus. I want to make them very happy and will do everything I can.”
Rice has stood out on the European stage and securing silverware would be an apt end to his spell at the club, though he would hesitate to label it as that for the foreseeable future. Speaking about the prospect of lifting the trophy at the Fortuna Arena, he continued: “All of us have thought about it.
“The journey we have been on, now we are one game away from lifting something for West Ham. It will go down in history. But I don’t think about those things too much because I have been in finals before and lost.
“The differences between the highs and lows of the game are really minimal. But I think we are all dreaming and all the fans are dreaming. We have a right to but it is down to us to get it done. We have the squad who have played in big games and have some big winners in our team. We will be ready for anything. It is the last game of the season and we need to empty the tank and give absolutely everything for the club, each other and the fans.”
It remains to be seen whether success with West Ham could persuade the captain to remain at the club beyond this summer or if the accolade would simply bump his transfer valuation up further.
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