West Ham United have reportedly suspended contract talks with their starlet Declan Rice until the end of the season, having failed to agree terms of an extension with the 19-year-old.
The talented teenager broke through into the Hammers' first team last season, and has remained a regular starter under new manager Manuel Pellegrini. Given his potential, a number of top Premier League sides have kept close tabs on the player, with his homegrown status making him a highly alluring prospect.
According to the Guardian, West Ham have grown impatient with Rice's agent's contract demands, which would reportedly see the player's wage be increased from £3k to £30k per week. His current deal expires at the end of next season, but the Hammers can reportedly trigger an extension on the existing deal, which would see it run until 2021.
Therefore, it appears that the east London side have the upper hand in negotiations. While they'll be wary of damaging their relationship with one of their most gifted players, the opportunity for an extension is a massive plus, and they'll be confident of agreeing a deal closer to their more modest offer of £15k per week - which includes appearance bonuses.
Rice could potentially turn the tables on West Ham, and simply wait out his contract until the end of next season when he could leave on a free transfer, ala Aaron Ramsey. Alternatively, he could push for a transfer in the summer, allowing the club to cash-in on his services. The latter is perhaps the more likely, as it would avoid incurring the wrath of the Hammers faithful.
In other news, former West Ham boss David Moyes has claimed that Marko Arnautović has the capability to play for a 'top four' side. The Austria international has come on leaps and bounds since switching to the centre forward position, and his ex-manager believes his new found gusto for the game will see him rise to the very top in the near future.