‘I can only tell you what I know, and I wouldn’t have wanted to lose him anyway.
‘He’s so important, a big part of the squad, has been captain already, and is learning a lot about leadership from Mark Noble.
‘I’m hoping in the future we have an incredibly talented footballer with leadership skills and who is motivated to be captain of West Ham.’
Rice was released as a youngster by Chelsea, but it appears the Blues will have to fork out big money to re-sign the 21-year-old.
Chelsea have been the Premier League’s big spenders this summer with the signings of Thiago Silva, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Malang Sarr and Ben Chilwell.
West Ham, on the other hand, have been chasing a new centre-back while also trying to offload some big earners from their wage bill.