Arsenal and manager Mikel Arteta’s chase of West Ham United and England midfielder Declan Rice has been well known for days now, and the club have already had a couple of very good bids rejected as The Hammers obviously hold out for the very best deal they can get.
It had long been announced by David Sullivan that the 24 year old was likely to move on this summer having skippered them to Europa League success over Fiorentina – despite the tricky league campaign manager David Moyes over saw – but in some ways given the reports suggesting we have already gone to around the £90 million mark, it is actually the payment schedule that is more problematic for his parent club and they are definitely dangling the 12 month option they hold over his head when it comes to negotiations.
With it seeming that negotiations have somewhat stalled, in more recent days, Pep Guardiola and Manchester City have been linked with entering the fray for the player, but given the players already in their squad (even though Ilkay Gundogen has confirmed he is leaving, and there continues to be massive speculation surrounding the future of Bernardo Silva), there are very valid questions as to where Rice would actually fit in at the Etihad Stadium.
These were raised recently by BBC Sport’s Simon Stone, who said.
“Arsenal, clearly, are in pole position. It is felt most of the negotiation around the transfer from a player perspective is done. Man City’s interest is real though, even if, with Rodri, Mateo Kovacic and Kalvin Phillips, they are not exactly short of central midfield options, despite the departure of Ilkay Gundogan for Barcelona. It would be easy, for instance, to see David Moyes being interested in Phillips, even though the England man says he is committed to City.”
A potential swap deal for Phillips may well make more sense when it comes to City, but in turn they would obviously prefer to then drive the transfer fee down, which seems counter productive to what West Ham want – even allowing for Rice seeing a pull from City.
“Arsenal’s problem is this; they can feel confident in their position, continue to chip away at West Ham and hope eventually, the answer is ‘yes’. But that comes with risk. What if Pep Guardiola makes a persuasive pitch? Would Rice really turn down the Treble winners, who have the ability to pay more than Arsenal because they generate more income? It is easy to dismiss the current situation as owner David Sullivan trying to drive up the price of a player he knows is leaving. However, for Arsenal, the stakes are high – and they need to get their reaction right.”
There have not been too many missteps since Arteta came through the door, I would say he has built up some credit amongst fans and that we should remain confident for now about the year ahead.
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