David Moyes has admitted for the first time that there is a “good chance” Declan Rice will leave West Ham this summer.
Hammers captain Rice has ambitions to play for a Champions League club but has a price tag in excess of £100m.
Nevertheless, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are all understood to be interested in the 24-year-old England midfielder.
“We honestly hope he stays,” said Moyes. “We’d love for him to be a West Ham player but we are aware that might not be the case at the end of the season.
“So that’s one of the scenarios around planning. There are plans that we have Dec here but we’re also fully aware there is a good chance we won’t have him.”
Moyes has been unable to formulate plans for next season while West Ham’s Premier League status remains unclear, although last week’s win over Manchester United has left them all but safe.
“The planning has been put on the back burner. It’s always been about making sure you’re a Premier League club,” added the Scot. “Your planning will go completely if you weren’t.
“A lot of it will only start to go into place once we’ve realised we have kept our Premier League place. We’re watching a lot of players, a lot of games, doing a lot of scouting, but the truth is the focus has been on staying in the Premier League.”
West Ham head to Brentford on Sunday on the back of Thursday night’s 2-1 win over AZ Alkmaar in the first leg of the Europa Conference League semi-final.
Moyes is set to make changes with the second leg in the Netherlands in mind, with Rice, Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio – who was limping after the AZ match – expected to be rested.
“We are still assessing a lot of players, we are less than 24 hours from the game,” he said. “There are obviously knocks and bruises but I am hoping Michail is not too bad.
“We will assess him but he should be good for Sunday.”