Rumour Has It: Rice favours Arsenal as Chelsea and Man Utd circle for West Ham star

By Sports Desk January 23, 2023

Declan Rice appears certain to leave West Ham at the end of this season, with the ambition to test himself in the Champions League.

The 24-year-old midfielder is contracted with the Hammers until 2024, with the Hammers having the option of an additional year.

West Ham reportedly want more than £100million for the England international, but may settle for around £80m.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL CONFIDENT OF WINNING RICE RACE

Arsenal are winning the chase to sign West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, who favours a move to the Gunners, according to The Guardian.

Rice has also drawn interest from Premier League heavyweights Chelsea and Manchester United.

The London-born defensive midfielder is excited by the prospect of working with Mikel Arteta, according to the report, and Arsenal's manager has plans to integrate Rice into his starting XI.

 

ROUND-UP

–  Milan are monitoring Nicolo Zaniolo's situation, with Fabrizio Romano claiming that Tottenham are only offering an initial loan with a buy option, with Roma wanting a €35/40m (£30.7m/35m) guaranteed fee. Zaniolo is keen to join Antonio Conte's Spurs.

– Football Insider claims that Tottenham have offered Spanish winger Bryan Gil to Roma as part of their proposed Zaniolo deal. The report claims he is one of three players Spurs have presented to the Italian club.

– The Sun reports Roma are also in talks with Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech about a move to the Italian capital. The Moroccan has also been linked with Barcelona.

Inter want to sign Roma's English centre-back Chris Smalling on a free transfer, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Smalling's contract expires at the end of this season, although he has the option to extend for another year.

Marseille want to sign Hellas Verona defensive midfielder Ivan Ilic, according to Sky Sport Italia, though OM would leave the 21-year-old on loan at Verona for the rest of the season.

– The Daily Telegraph claims Everton have held talks on the future of manager Frank Lampard, following reports he would be sacked on Sunday.

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    With Jamaican debutante Kaheim Dixon scoring the game's lone goal in the 58th minute at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Friday, Eve opted to focus on the positives in the exercise, which provided an opportunity for several local-based players to make their national senior team debut.

    Eve gave debut starts Tiger Tanks Club Sando pair of left back Shervohnez Hamilton and midfielder Kai Moos, while AC Port of Spain's versatile wing back Liam Burns also got his first start for the twin island republic. The overseas-based pair of Kai Garvey and Justin Obikwu, who started at the left wing and centre forward positions respectively, also found favour with Eve, who felt the new players adjusted well in their first outing.

    "It is going to be difficult for these guys (Garvey and Obikwu) coming from where they are coming from and trying to adjust in just a couple days of work. I thought they adjusted well. They tried to bring the strengths they had to the group," Eve said in a post-match conference.

    "For the most part, I thought the group did really well. We gave up a really soft goal and we could not get ourselves back in the game. I think it was a lack of belief and that happens when players are not accustomed to playing at this level consistently. For effort, you must give all of the guys an A," he added.

    Still, with the main objective being to identify players to fit into his final squad for the upcoming Copa America playoff fixture against Canada on March 23, Eve is expected to look at a different line up with hopes that they will be mor fluid and consist in their play to give the coaching staff much to think about.

    "I thought it was a great exercise for the guys. When you look at the starting team, we had about six or seven players who were uncapped. We need more exercises like this to expose these guys and give them the opportunity because they have been doing well in the league," the tactician shared.

    "So, it's now to give the guys who are more established a run out going into the playoff game. Rhondel Gibson was good on the ball and when he came on, the team started to believe a little bit more. He wasn't afraid to get to the ball and those are the type of players we are looking for to be that brave and show themselves," Eve ended.

    The second game is scheduled for a 4:00pm kick off (3:00pm Jamaica time), at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar on Sunday.

    NB: That game will be live on SportsMax.

  • Villa boss Unai Emery hails Ollie Watkins as ‘an example for other players’ Villa boss Unai Emery hails Ollie Watkins as ‘an example for other players’

    Unai Emery hailed Ollie Watkins as one of the best strikers in Europe after his double helped Aston Villa to a dramatic 3-2 win over Luton at Kenilworth Road.

    A header in the 89th minute from substitute Lucas Digne ensured Villa won for the third game in a row in the Premier League to stay five points clear of Tottenham in the race for Champions League qualification.

    Emery’s side were comfortably on top in the first half and went in at the break with a commanding two-goal lead given to them by Watkins’ brace.

    Luton struck back, seemingly re-energised by the looming prospect of a fourth straight league defeat, with goals from Tahith Chong and Carlton Morris, but Digne’s late intervention settled the contest in Villa’s favour.

    However, it was the contribution of Watkins that was singled out by Emery.

    “Fantastic, brilliant,” he said of his team’s top scorer, who now has 21 for the season.

    “He’s an example for other players. Every day working hard, every day trying to learn more.

    “His mentality, to increase his level, practising and practising on the training ground. His commitment to work in the tactical areas we are planning every match.

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    “For mentality, it’s difficult to find a player better than him. But his skill is also a high level.

    “He wants to learn every day, to increase his level. Of course, his first objective is scoring goals, but then as well, tactically, his work has been fantastic. Understanding, being clever.”

    Asked if Watkins was one of the best in Europe, Emery said: “Yes, of course, he’s showing. The Premier League is the toughest league maybe in the world.

    “But as a person he’s humble. He avoids the ego changing him. He’s fantastic as a person and as a professional.”

    Luton boss Edwards, whose team are four points adrift of safety with 12 games to play, reflected on a result he found difficult to take.

    “Bitterly disappointed,” he said. “The goals were avoidable, all three of them, as they always are.

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    Nottingham Forest’s referee analyst Mark Clattenburg claims Paul Tierney made an mistake in the build-up to Liverpool’s last-gasp winner in Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat.

    Forest’s players, staff and fans were furious after substitute Darwin Nunez’s stoppage-time effort denied them a draw.

    Referee Tierney had stopped play before the build-up to the goal for an apparent head injury to Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate.

    The official blew with Forest in possession on the edge of Liverpool’s area and, after Konate had quickly recovered, Tierney dropped the ball to visiting goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, who then started the move that led to the goal.

    Clattenburg, appointed to his role at Forest last month, said after the match: “The law states that, if the referee is going to stop the game – which he is entitled to for a head injury – the ball has to go back to the team that has possession. Nottingham Forest clearly had possession.

    “The laws of the game clearly state that, when the referee blows his whistle, the team that has possession should get possession when the game is started again.”

    Former Premier League referee Clattenburg added: “When Liverpool were given possession, they went on the attack and eventually scored from it.

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    Forest’s players and staff surrounded Tierney at the final whistle, with coach Steven Reid shown a red card, while boss Nuno Espirito Santo refused to comment on the incident.

    Forest dismissed reports club owner Evangelos Marinakis had to be restrained after chasing Tierney down the tunnel after the final whistle, but said he did approach the official.

    Clattenburg added: “The owner is quite upset because, of course, he has invested a lot of money in the club. He wants to see results and he feels that another decision has gone against the club.

    “He is upset. Everyone at the club is upset that they have lost in this way.

    “As a club, Nottingham Forest feel as though there have been one or two decisions that have gone against them in the last few weeks.”

    Clattenburg said he would speak to the referees’ governing body, the PGMOL, about the incident.

    “With the relations I have with the PGMOL and the Premier League, we will discuss what has happened today and then plot what the next course of action is,” he said.

    “The law is clear. When you have possession outside of the penalty area, you get possession back.

    “In that crucial moment, Forest had the ball in the corner. They could have absorbed a bit of time and got the result, with the score at 0-0.”

    When asked if he had been in contact with Tierney after the game, Clattenburg added: “I have not spoken to him myself. I tried to go into the referee’s room and he would not allow me in.”

    The PGMOL declined to comment, while the PA news agency has also approached the Premier League for its response.

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