- Rice is Arsenal's top target
- Gunners' first offer rejected
- Man City also join race
WHAT HAPPENED? The Gunners' prime summer signing is already in motion, as The Athletic's David Ornstein reports that an opening offer was made to sign the Hammers captain on Thursday. This follows talks held between Arsenal and West Ham executives a day earlier, although Jacob Steinberg has revealed that the first bid has been rejected by the east London club. ESPN report Arsenal offered £80 million plus £10m in add-ons but West Ham value Rice at over £100m.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: While West Ham have admitted that Rice will be up for sale this summer, they have made it clear that he won't be going at a cut-rate price. The decision is a logical one given the wide interest in the midfielder, which Ornstein reports now extends to treble winners City. Midfield stalwart Ilkay Gundogan is yet to extend his deal beyond this month, which could pave the way for Rice's arrival.
AND WHAT'S MORE: City's interest is a blow to Arsenal. The Gunners had seen interest from Manchester United and Chelsea wane, while German giants Bayern Munich reportedly pulled out of the running on Tuesday. The pathway to Rice's signature is now far from clear, given the prestige of the Premier League champions and their famed tactician Pep Guardiola.
IN THREE PHOTOS:(C)GettyImagesGettyGetty Images
WHAT NEXT FOR RICE? However, for any move to materialise - whether to Arsenal, City or another club - the right offer will clearly need to come through. Thus far, this is yet to happen, and it remains to be seen just how long this transfer saga will drag out.