Declan Rice would find it hard to turn down a summer move if a club such as Manchester United were to come calling, believes former West Ham ace Glen Johnson.
Rice has developed into one of England’s finest midfielders over the past 12 months, as well as establishing himself at international level under Gareth Southgate.
The 22-year-old has reportedly been on United’s transfer radar for some time as they plot a future move for the Hammers star.
And with Rice so far failing to come to terms on a new deal in east London, there’s growing speculation that he could set for a summer exit.
“Hopefully he’s not thinking about anything, because if you play your football and do your job then everything else takes care of itself,” Johnson exclusively told Express Sport.
“Any good player is going to have the big teams crawling after them for sure, and if he wants to get the move, then performing for West Ham is what’s going to make that happen.
“So I think if he just keeps doing what he’s doing, then the option will be there and it’s going to be up to him.
“But as we all know, when the biggest teams in the world come calling, it’s hard. It’s hard for the club, for one, to turn down the money, which we know will be a decent amount. And then it’s also hard for the player to not want to be playing in the Champions League and fighting for titles.
“As long as he does his job for West Ham and leaves in the right manner, if he leaves, then I think it’s acceptable. But for me, as long as he just concentrates on his football, then the rest will just take care of itself.”
After amassing over 450 career appearances during his career, the former Hammers academy graduate has had to deal with plenty of transfer speculation himself in the past.
United’s interest in Rice has seemingly been constant, with the Old Trafford hierarchy reportedly earmarking him as the solution to their midfield woes.
But Johnson, who went on to play for Chelsea and Liverpool, believes that speculation isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Rice and that it shouldn’t throw the England midfielder off of his game.
“You obviously know about it,” Johnson added when asked if speculation could hamper the Hammers midfielder.
“I guess it’s nice for the ego, but there’s so much speculation in football. One minute this teams involved, next week they’re not, then there’s someone new involved and so on. There’s a lot of speculation around him.
“I must have been linked with 30 clubs in my career and I only signed for five! So there’s a lot of talk and less action.
“But, yeah, it’s not difficult, it’s more enjoyable really. If people are talking like that, then you’re obviously doing something right on the pitch.
“As long as you can keep doing your job and it doesn’t affect your performances, then you can enjoy it.”