BREAKING NEWS: West Ham REJECT Arsenal’s lowball £90m opening bid for star midfielder Declan Rice – as Man City emerge as shock rivals for the England star’s signature
- Rice has long been targeted by Gunners as they look to build on second place
- Player has previous attracted interest from Man United, Chelsea, and Bayern
- Transfer news LIVE: Follow all the biggest transfer stories in one place
West Ham have rejected Arsenal’s opening bid as the north London club races to sign star midfielder Declan Rice as Manchester City emerge as shock rivals prepare to compete for the signature of the Hammers captain.
The north London club has long been the favoured option ahead of a likely summer move for the England star, despite overtures from a number of top flight clubs.
Rivals to secure Rice’s services have included Manchester United, Bayern Munich, and Chelsea, but their interest has waned after confronting the reality of Rice’s reported desire to join Mikel Arteta’s side.
Bayern Munich wrapped up their interest in the 24-year-old on Tuesday, despite head coach Thomas Tuchel’s desire to make him the club’s record signing, their unwillingness to compete with Arsenal’s financial muscle also a factor.
The Hammers believe their player is worth a staggering £110million, and co-chairman Daniel Sullivan’s hopes of an array of suitors driving up one another’s bids may yet come to fruition.
Arsenal have had their opening bid for Declan Rice rejected after talks opened on Wednesday
Mikel Arteta (left) has prioritised the midfielder as a lynchpin of Gunners’ summer transfer window, but could have his plans thwarted by his mentor Pep Guardiola (right)
Arsenal are said to have opened discussions with West Ham on Wednesday, with Arsenal’s executive vice-chair Tim Lewis and his opposite number Karren Brady talking over a potential offer when Premier League clubs met at their annual AGM.
Although Arsenal are willing to pay close to West Ham’s asking price, their opening offer was believed to be £80m plus £10m-worth of add-ons.
West Ham are believed to be interested in what Man City may be able to offer for the player, further delaying the Gunners’ plans to make a swift move for their No 1 transfer target.
City’s interest comes after Rice was the focus of rivals United’s transfer aspirations, but the Red Devils’ transfer energies have been largely focused on securing the talents of Rice’s friend and England team-mate, Mason Mount.
The England star became the first West Ham captain to lift a European trophy since 1965 with the Hammers’ Europa Conference League win
The Treble-winners have not entered the transfer market in full force, working only on a potential deal for Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic.
But Pep Guardiola’s side may yet have to contend with a number of high-profile departures, with Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva’s futures currently uncertain.
On Thursday, Mail Sport reported that England international Kyle Walker may look to on from the Etihad this summer after failing to start during City’s Champions League final on Saturday.
Walker is believed to have viewed his omission as a ‘huge disappointment’.
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