Manuel Pellegrini has warned the Premier League’s big guns they will need to pay a huge fee if they want to prise Declan Rice away from West Ham.
Midfielder Rice is already being linked with Manchester United following his successful first England appearances against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.
Other major clubs in England and abroad are also reported to be monitoring the 20-year-old on the back of a hugely impressive breakthrough season for West Ham.
Rice is under contract at the London Stadium until 2024 but the club’s hierarchy will be bracing themselves for some firm interest this summer.
However, Pellegrini said: “In that case, as always, it is just a matter of price.
“There are big teams who decide to pay an important amount of money. Sure, if it is a good deal for the club and the player and improves his career, then we can do it. But I know nothing about that yet.”
Rice attracted many plaudits for his performance in front of the back four on his full Three Lions debut in the 5-1 Euro 2020 qualifier win over Montenegro.
But his composure on the international stage came as no shock to his club manager.
“Was I surprised? No,” added Pellegrini. “I know Declan Rice, I have said before that he is a young player, just 20 years old, but his mind is that of an adult player.
“He never feels pressure playing here or with the national squad. I was absolutely sure his level of performance would be exactly the same. He is a top, top player.
“In terms of his development he must continue doing exactly what he is doing now, to work in the same way, to have the same mentality.
“He knows he must improve, that is why he is always listening and learning so, as a player, the way he plays more games and better games he will continue improving.”
Midfielder Samir Nasri is a doubt for Saturday’s visit of Everton with a calf problem.
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