You can tell it’s transfer season. The rumour mill is well and truly turning this week and it’s already been an emotional one.
Ilkay Gundogan announced his intention to end his seven-year stay in Manchester and join Barcelona, while Mateo Kovacic looks set to join the blues in a £25m deal from Chelsea. According to the Evening Standard, the Croatian star is set to have a medical in Manchester today before the blues officially announce him as their first signing of the summer.
However, a bigger transfer story coming out of London is City’s supposed attempt to hijack Arsenal’s bid for West Ham’s England international Declan Rice.
The midfielder captained the Hammers to European glory as the East London side beat Fiorentina in the Conference League final, ending their long wait for silverware. In the aftermath of that victory, Hammers chairman David Sullivan announced that it had been agreed for Rice to leave the London Stadium over the summer.
Since then, Arsenal have been touted as favourites to sign the 24-year-old, but have had two offers rejected by the Hammers. It was believed that their latest attempt was in the region of £90m, but it looks like the Hammers are holding out for at least £100m.
This has prompted some journos to suggest that City are prepared to offer the Hammers what they want to not only secure Rice’s signature, but keep him out of the hands of one of their major rivals for the Premier League title.
What has happened so far?
As far as City are concerned, nothing. They haven’t made any sort of bid for the midfielder and there are many in the blue camp that don’t expect them to make a move for Rice. Arsenal have made two bids so far, but the Hammers have turned both of them down. It is understood that the latest offer by the Gunners was to pay £75m up-front with add-ons taking the total fee to £90m, which is not an acceptable offer to the Hammers.
Arsenal are expected to make a third and vastly improved bid for the midfielder to ward off City’s attention, but it remains to be seen whether the blues are genuinely interested in Rice, or whether their name is being used to push the price up.
What are the media reporting?
As usual, the wonderful media are making it up as they go along, with some having Nostradamus level of knowledge, while others are desperately giving reasons why Rice should choose the Gunners of the blues.
That reliable fountain of knowledge Daily Star, have claimed City will make a £100m bid for the midfielder and could use ‘midfield misfit’ Kalvin Phillips as a makeweight. The tabloid believes City will pay £60m and give Phillips to the Hammers as well. They also claim United are interested
But, midfield misfit? The lad just hasn’t had his chance yet. He was injured at the start of the season, then Pep put his faith in Rodri for the explosive second half of the season, and the Spaniard was the rock that we needed to secure the treble. He’ll get his chance to prove himself, he’s not exactly Scott Sinclair!
Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror have given three desperate reasons why Rice should choose Arsenal over City. by moving to the Emirates, Rice will:
- Be able to stay in London with family and friends - Duh!
- Guaranteed to play. According to the Mirror, City have Rodri, Kevin de Bruyne, Kalvin Phillips and Maximo Perrone ahead of him, while at Arsenal, he’ll only be competing with Thomas Partey, Jorginho, Granit Xhaka, Fabio Vieira, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Mohamed Elneny. Not much difference there eh?
- He appreciates Arteta. It seems that making a few comments about how the Arsenal boss manages his side, makes him Arteta’s number one fan! I can smell the desperation from here.
The Daily Mail report City’s bid is imminent. That translates to City not making a bid. If it’s in the Mail, it’s probably not true.
And, those exceptionally clever people at the Sun claim Jack Grealish liking a tweet is indicative that Rice will be coming to Manchester, despite preferring Arsenal. A video created by a West Ham fan and titled ‘Westchester City’ was liked by Grealish. Now, if there’s any indication of the destination of a top footballer, it has to be Jack Grealish liking a tweet!
And finally, if you can wade through all the adverts on the Daily Express, you may discover that David Moyes was hoping for a swap deal involving Rice and Kalvin Phillips, but may have to look elsewhere. How about just making a bid for Phillips instead?