Arsenal’s pursuit of West Ham United’s captain, Declan Rice, has hit a roadblock as Manchester United have joined the race to sign the England international. The Daily Mail reported that Arsenal were most advanced in their interest, but their initial valuation of Rice falls more than £10million short of West Ham’s asking price. However, the Hammers’ hopes of a bidding war for their star player may become a reality as Manchester United are now in the mix.
Rice has been an integral part of West Ham United’s squad this season, scoring four goals and providing two assists. The 24-year-old has also been a regular starter for England, earning 19 caps for the national team. His performances have caught the eye of several top clubs, including Arsenal and Manchester United.
Arsenal had been in a fierce title race with Manchester City this season, but a defeat against Nottingham Forest in their 37th game week saw them lose the trophy to The Citizens. The Gunners currently have 81 points, while Manchester City has 88 points with a game in hand. Despite leading the league table for 10 months this season, Arsenal will have to settle for second place.
The addition of Rice to Arsenal’s squad would be a significant boost to their midfield next season. Mikel Arteta’s side has struggled in that area this season, whenever either Granit Xhaka or Thomas Partey got injured. Rice’s ability to break up play and distribute the ball would provide Arsenal with a much-needed defensive shield in front of their backline.
However, with Manchester United now in the race to sign Rice, Arsenal will face stiff competition for his signature. The Red Devils are in need of a defensive midfielder, and Rice’s versatility would make him an excellent addition to Ole Ten Hagg’s squad. United’s financial muscle could also give them an advantage over Arsenal in negotiations with West Ham.
West Ham United’s initial valuation of Rice is reportedly over £100m, a fee that would make him one of the most expensive players in Premier League history. It remains to be seen if any club will be willing to meet that price tag, but with Arsenal and Manchester United both interested, a bidding war could be on the horizon.