Arsenal have four cheaper Plan B targets if Man City steal Rice transfer.

Declan Rice unsure if he has played final West Ham game after European success

After pipping Arsenal to Premier League glory as part of their treble triumph, Man City may look to get one over the Gunners again with reports circulating that they could move for Declan Rice. The West Ham midfielder is the Gunners’ main transfer target this summer and will look to splash most of their cash on him. 

But Arsenal certainly aren’t having it easy as the Hammers rejected their first bid of £80million plus add-ons on Thursday as they hold firm for an eye-watering sum of around £100m including add-ons. The Gunners are expected to return with a second bid as they’re determined to land their man who has his heart set on a move to the Emirates.

However, money talks and City could steal the England star from under Arsenal’s nose as they weigh up a bid. But if that proves to be the case, then Gunners fans shouldn’t fear too much as Mikel Arteta and Edu have proved in the past they snap up plan B options that have become a success, including Leandro Trossard and Jorginho.

And below, Express Sport has taken a look at who Arteta and Edu could turn to if their Rice dreams are shattered by Pep Guardiola this summer…

Martin Zubimendi

Arsenal have been linked with Zubimendi for a while now, most notably in January, but as always in the winter window, deals are hard to be finalised as players are settled in and have club goals of their own until the end of the season. 

But the Real Sociedad star could be an option for Arsenal this summer if Rice moves to the Etihad. The Gunners could snap him up for £51m, his release clause, which would effectively make the La Liga outfit poewerless to stop him leaving. He is silky on the ball and would fit into the team with ease – hence why he has also attracted interest from Barcelona.

Kalvin Phillips

Arsenal could turn to City and try and seize the uncertainty on Rice’s England defensive midfield colleague in Phillips. He signed for the Citizens in a £42m deal last summer but endured a very tough debut season with minutes being very limited.

However, there is a great player in there from his days at Leeds and would prove a very valuable addition to Arsenal. However, it’s highly unlikely Guardiola and co would do business with Arsenal, particularly after offloading Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko who proved key to a title charge at the Emirates.

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Florentino Luis

Now to some options that haven’t been in the headlines as much. Benfica star Luis has been linked with the Gunners tenuously so far but he could be one to keep an eye out for. He enjoyed an impressive season with Benfica and has attracted interest from across Europe – with Napoli and AC Milan considering a move.

At just 23 years of age, he would fit Arteta’s profile as he wants to keep up the philosophy of building a young squad that can blossom into title-winners one day. However, it won’t be easy to tempt him away from Benfica as he has a deal there until 2027 and would command a hefty transfer fee.

Youssouf Fofana

And finally, a France international in Fofana could be on Arsenal’s radar. Monaco reportedly believe now may be the time to get cash for their midfielder as he continues to impress having been linked with Paris Saint-Germain in the past. 

West Ham and Roma are reportedly interested in his services, but a move to the Gunners would be too hard to turn down. He could be the next Ligue 1 youngster to mak the move to England

Alternative option

Most likely would be a cheap transfer this summer for a box-to-box midfielder and keep Granit Xhaka at the club for another season. The Swiss midfielder, an Arsenal fan favourite, looks set for a move to Bayer Leverkusen but if Rice was to move to City, Arteta will be determined to keep hold of his reliable star

Xhaka is a real leader in this Arsenal squad and having him on board for another season would be very wise if Arteta is short in the midfield department.

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