The 2023 summer transfer window has come with several surprises as well as some decisions that seemed inevitable.
One source of contention, however, has been Declan Rice and his future at Arsenal.
While the Gunners have made their interest in Rice clear, West Ham have rejected three of their bids and Man City have made their own play for the star midfielder.
Why Declan Rice?
Rice has long been a favorite, especially after leading the Hammers to victory in the European Conference League.
Lottoland, home of the Irish lottery winning numbers, has set the odds on West Ham’s upcoming match against Bournemouth at 11/8 for the Hammers to secure a victory.
Rice would play a key role in that match if he’s still at West Ham by then, but it looks incredibly unlikely that he will be.
Rice is a coveted player for several reasons. At the age of 24, Rice is about to hit the prime of his career.
He has the strength and stamina that older players lack, as well as the ability to bounce back from injuries at a far quicker rate.
In his professional career, Rice has only missed one match due to illness, demonstrating his vitality.
Ordinarily, clubs must sacrifice tactical wisdom for these benefits, but that isn’t the case with Rice.
As West Ham’s captain, Rice has proven time and time again that he can read the entire field and respond accordingly, whether he is in possession of the ball or not.
From strategic tackling to precise passing, Rice knows how to maintain his cool on the pitch and deliver the best results for his team.
As it stands, Rice is one of, if not the, best defensive midfielders in the league.
His ball recovery alongside his interception and tackling technique have made him the keystone of West Ham’s line-up for the last two seasons.
The 2023 summer transfer window
As the Premier League concluded, with Manchester City claiming the title, rumours began to circulate about other clubs’ interest in Rice and initially, it appeared inevitable that Rice would transfer to Arsenal.
A week before the final matches in the Premier League were played, Arsenal submitted a bid of £80 million for the Hammers’ captain.
This bid formed part of Arsenal’s larger plan to strengthen their midfield with the addition of two new defensive players.
However, West Ham rejected this bid as it fell short of their £100 million asking price.
While Rice was initially valued at £80 million, his worth significantly increased when West Ham won the European Conference League.
The club has acknowledged that the transfer of Rice is inevitable, given that he rejected their offer of £200,000 per week and, with only a year left on his contract, this is their last opportunity to secure a sizable transfer fee.
The Gunners issued a second offer of £90 million a week later but were rejected again.
Not only did they fail to meet the asking price for a second time, but West Ham was also monitoring Manchester City’s interest in their star player.
With City’s Ilkay Gundogan contemplating a transfer of his own, the club had a spot to fill with Rice’s name on it.
They flexed their financial strength by issuing a £95 million bid for German player, Josko Gvardiol.
Initially, it was believed that this bid revealed a lack of focus on Rice, presenting Arsenal with the perfect opportunity to strike while their opponents were distracted.
However, West Ham still rejected the Gunners’ third bid.
As the negotiations have reached a stalemate, it appears that Arsenal is exploring alternatives, including French player, Youssouf Fofana.
He has enjoyed a successful season at Monaco and featured in the French national team in last year’s World Cup.
Despite Rice expressing a preference for Arsenal, it remains unclear whether they’ll be able to meet West Ham’s demands.
However, it appears that Manchester City are out of the running, for the moment at least.