West Ham confirm Rice departure


West Ham United have confirmed the Claret and Hugh report earlier that Declan Rice will join Arsenal after agreement was reached last night  for a British record transfer fee of £105 million.

The 24-year-old England midfielder made a total of 245 senior appearances for us – the last of which finished in glory last month as he lifted the UEFA Europa Conference League trophy in Prague.

Winner of the Hammer of the Year award three times, in 2020, 2022 and 2023, and runner-up in 2018 and 2019, Declan made his full England debut in March 2019 and has since gone on to win 43 caps.

Joint-Chair David Sullivan said: “I am sorry to see Declan leave us, but I believe that everyone at West Ham United should be very proud of the part we have played in his journey from the Academy of Football at Chadwell Heath to becoming the most valuable young player in English football.​

“I would like to make it clear to our supporters that we did not want to sell Declan. We wanted to build our team around him and made a series of improved, long-term contract offers to secure his future. However, once Declan made it clear  he wished to move on and seek a new challenge, the Club felt it would not be right to stand in his way, acting in the best interests of West Ham United.

“He leaves with the sincere thanks, respect and love of everyone here, having earned his place in history alongside the great Bobby Moore and Billy Bonds as the only players to have captained West Ham United to a major trophy. More than that, he has always given absolutely everything for the football club throughout his time with us.​

“Declan will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Hammers fans and everyone here at the Club. We wish him well for the future and he will always be an inspiration and an example to any young player coming through our Academy.”

Manager David Moyes added: “I’d like to personally thank Declan for everything he has done during his time at West Ham United. Obviously it is sad when we say goodbye to someone who has been with us for so long but we must now look forward.

“West Ham United is a huge Club and, as history shows, no player is ever bigger than the Club. Our entire focus now is on building upon the success we enjoyed last season, adding to our talented UEFA Europa Conference League title winning squad as we enter our third consecutive season in Europe, and continuing to develop the best young talent through our successful Academy.”

ClaretandHugh says: Only the most mean hearted among us would not wish Dec every success as he leaves the club although probably most would have hoped it would not be another London club. However, if we are talking North London then I suppose the Gooners has to be better than the Spuds. Declan has been an inspiration since arriving in the first team and right to the very end of his career her gave us everything he had and although pretty young became a fabulous captain for the Hammers. We believe he will always be a Hammer at heart as the club which groomed him to greatness and as David Sullivan explained stands alongside Mooro and Bonzo as a legend for leading us to a European trophy. All the very best Dec and many thanks.

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon