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Declan Rice hopes Daniel Kretinsky investment can help West Ham match Champions League ambition

·3-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Declan Rice hopes investment from Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky can help West Ham push on and match his Champions League ambitions.

Kretinsky bought a 27 per cent stake in West Ham earlier this month and has agreed an option for a full takeover of the club as part of his deal with David Sullivan and David Gold.

Writing in a column for Standard Sport last week, Kretinsky outlined his desire to build on the progress West Ham have made under David Moyes over the past 18 months.

After securing a Europa League spot last season, Moyes is targeting a top-four finish this term and the Hammers remain fourth despite yesterday’s 2-1 defeat here at Manchester City.

Investment from Kretinsky, whose personal wealth is valued at £2.9billion by Forbes, puts West Ham in a stronger position to be able to compete with the richest clubs in the country.

Kretinsky has warned supporters not to expect big spending in the January transfer window as he targets “gradual evolution”, but it is hoped his ambition will convince Rice to sign a new deal and commit his future to West Ham.

Rice has turned down two contract offers amid interest from Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, and has made it clear he wants to play in the Champions League.

The England star hopes West Ham can stay in the mix for a top-four finish and he can realise that dream at the London Stadium. Asked whether Kretinsky’s arrival can help the club match his ambition, Rice told Standard Sport: “Yeah, hopefully the club can get in the Champions League and my ambition, of course, is that I want to play in the Champions League as well. Hopefully the club can keep pushing.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

West Ham once again showed in defeat yesterday that they can compete with the best teams in the Premier League.

Rice was excellent in midfield while, for the most part, the Hammers were solid at the back. Ilkay Gundogan put City in front from a deflected Riyad Mahrez cross in the first half before Fernandinho added a second in the 90th minute. Manuel Lanzini scored a superb consolation goal in the final seconds of the game.

West Ham should have threatened earlier than that but they were let down by their decision making in the final third as Michail Antonio and Pablo Fornals were both guilty of wasting good openings.

It is becoming a familiar tale for West Ham this season.

The Hammers have now lacked a cutting edge in back-to-back Premier League defeats against Wolves and City and, after beating Liverpool 3-2 to move up to third before the international break, Rice says they have “hit a halt”.

The midfielder has called on the Hammers to get back on track ahead of home games against Brighton and Chelsea this week.

“It is frustrating because we were in such good form before the international break,” Rice said.

“After we beat Liverpool it was like we could have played again within the next two days and beat someone else.

“Wednesday [against Brighton] will be key because we’ve always found it tough against them. We want to put on a real strong performance at home and get back to winning ways and stay in the top four.

“If we play like we did at City there is no reason we can’t get a result in those games.”

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