Rice and the City: A New Transfer Saga
Arsenal has been interested in signing West Ham’s captain, Declan Rice, since the January transfer window of the 2022/23, but with the club languishing in a relegation battle as well as their sojourns in the UEFA Europa Conference League, so it was evident that he was going to remain with the London-based outfit till the season was concluded. West Ham survived relegation by reaching the 40-point mark, ending in 14th place, but they qualified for the Europa League following their triumph over Fiorentina in the Conference League finals.
With the Hammers staying in the division for an additional season, as well as gearing themselves for yet another grueling European campaign, the upper hierarchy gave Declan Rice their blessing to leave and placed a mammoth price tag of £100 million for their prized asset. Arsenal respected West Ham enough to wait for their European final to be played before making any formal approach for Rice. Two bids of close to £90 million later, West Ham has rejected both bids from Arsenal, and expectations are in place for Arsenal to come up with the third and final bid that should be enough to get the deal over.
Just when we thought that we aren’t done with this protracted transfer saga for Rice, Manchester City has come into the picture and are odds on to make a formal bid for the same Declan Rice. Arsenal suffered at the hands of Man City last season – losing to the Cityzens in the fourth round of the FA Cup and more painfully, relinquishing their top spot in the Premier League to the same opposition on their way to a famous treble win in the last campaign. With Ilkay Gundogan leaving to potentially join Barcelona, I expected that the imminent acquisition of Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea was enough, but Man City, just had to be Man City, getting ready to flash their wads of oil cash at West Ham’s way, and might just bully Arsenal for Rice.
If you’re Declan Rice, who would you choose? Play in a North London club with an exciting project and potential for great things, or go further North to Manchester where you are more or less guaranteed silverware. At Arsenal, Rice will be an undoubted starter, with Granit Xhaka potentially leaving to Germany, but at Manchester City, he will have the threat of Rodri to contend with, as well as the newbie, Kovacic, but he’s good enough to improve any team he decides to join.
The gauntlet has been thrown to Arsenal and the Gunners have to stamp their foot down and go all the way to get their man. I recall what happened in January, when Edu Gaspar and his negotiation team discussed with Shakhtar Donetsk for the services of Mykhailo Mudryk, but Todd Boehly came through with his fat cash, and Chelsea got him instead. Yes, Mudryk hasn’t lit any fireworks in the Premier League since his arrival, but Chelsea was a club was going downhill with the likes of Graham Potter and Frank Lampard at the helm, but in Mauricio Pochettino, they have a proven coach that can get the best out of Mudryk as he did Heung-Min Son.
Getting Rice while rivaling with Man City will be a big statement for Arsenal but the Gunners are on the verge of greatness and need the best players to achieve this goal. Some may ponder if Rice is worth this hassle, but I’d say he very much is. From the start of the summer transfer window, Arsenal has gone all out for Rice to prove that he is the No. 1 target this window, and while negotiations for Rice are still ongoing, it seems that things have been firmed up with Chelsea for the acquisition of Kai Havertz, which is a very sensible transfer for the club.
It is believed that Rice is still inclined to joining Arsenal, so I hope we use this to our advantage and see off the threat of Man City to sign him from West Ham.
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