David Moyes reckons Declan Rice is worth well in excess of £100million and if a pandemic was not about to prune football’s money tree, he might be right.
The problem with Moyes’s assertion is that any footballer rated in the £100million-plus bracket is going to want to play Champions League football at some stage.
That stands to reason.
“I want to keep Declan thinking that his ambitions can be achieved here at West Ham,” said Moyes.
Quite frankly, on this evidence, there is little chance of that.
Considering West Ham, even after this defeat, are only three points adrift of fourth place and have a game in hand, that sounds particularly harsh.
But ambition is not just about a league table position. Ambition is about believing you can go toe-to-toe with the elite.
Leaving aside the fact that Spurs currently lie seventh, Liverpool eighth and Arsenal tenth, there is still this perception of a Big Six.
It is probably shared by Moyes.
Since his return to West Ham in late December, 2019, Moyes has faced Big Six opposition on 17 Premier League occasions and has won twice.
He has lost 12 times.
Moyes is not alone. There must be others with similar records. It is tough to compete against the big spenders.
But as Rice acquitted himself well in a narrow but predictable reverse, he must have looked around and wondered about ambition.
Where was the ambition before Craig Dawson headed into his own net early in the second half?
Where was the ambition in a first half that featured not one single serious attempt on goal from the visiting team?
The diseased loan system did not allow the West Ham manager to field his strongest side, although judging by the caginess of Moyes’s approach to this fixture, he might not have played Jesse Lingard even if he had been allowed to.
Yes, many teams come to places such as Old Trafford and play purely on the counter and, until going behind, Moyes only had containment on his mind.
Which is fine.
But containment does not scream ambition.
And containment does not keep players £100million-plus players.