- Arsenal’s bid for Rice exceeds the current British transfer record
- Manchester City had a £90m offer rejected on Tuesday
- Premier League champions have backed out of race
West Ham are not prepared to accept Arsenal’s British record £105m bid for Declan Rice as it stands, sources have told 90min, but Manchester City will not bid again.
Rice has been at the centre of a tug-of-war involving Premier League champions City, who announced the signing of Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea for an initial £25m fee on Tuesday.
City had a £90m offer for Rice turned down by West Ham on Tuesday morning, comprised of £80m in guaranteed money plus £10m in add-ons, while Arsenal have already seen two bids rejected by the Hammers.
90min reported on Arsenal’s third offer late on Tuesday night, which is a total package worth £105m to West Ham. That’s a figure that would not only represent a club-record purchase but would be a new British transfer record, surpassing the £100m City paid Aston Villa for Jack Grealish in 2021. The deal would also make Rice the joint-fifth most expensive player of all time.
But despite getting far closer to West Ham’s valuation, 90min understands that the Europa Conference League winners do not believe the structure of the deal is right.
Arsenal are currently proposing to pay the £100m guaranteed over a period of more than three years, whereas West Ham are expecting to receive all of the money by 2025. The amount itself isn’t regarded as a problem, making an agreement possible if the Gunners are willing to move their timeframes forward.
The good news for Arsenal is that Manchester City, who West Ham were expecting to return with an improved offer, have decided to back away from negotiations. They will now focus their efforts on replacing Ilkay Gundogan elsewhere – he joined Barcelona on a free transfer at the beginning of the week – and could resurrect their interest in long-standing target Gabri Veiga – he has a release clause at Celta Vigo worth around £35m.
Manchester United had been lingering in the background for Rice, though it would have taken something extraordinary from the Red Devils to be able to stump up a viable financial package, and Chelsea have also shown strong interest before focusing on Brighton’s Moises Caicedo.
90min understands that Arsenal has remained Rice’s preferred destination, with personal terms all but agreed on a contract at the Emirates Stadium. Manager Mikel Arteta is also closing in on two other high-profile signings, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber, which will take the club’s total summer spending north of £200m.