Declan Rice: Romano dispels Arsenal myth as Man City swoop to hijack £100m transfer

Will Ford
Man City want Rice

Fabrizio Romano has delivered a crushing blow to Arsenal, dispelling a myth that may have prevented Manchester City hijacking their deal for the England international.

Rice has been Arsenal’s top midfield target since January and they’ve seen two bids turned down by West Ham, with the latest seeing the Gunners pay £90m paid over several years.

But as Edu and Arsenal dawdle and fail to meet the Hammers’ £100m demand, Manchester City have been lurking in the background and The Athletic’s David Ornstein has confirmed that Pep Guardiola’s side are ‘expected to make an opening offer’ for the England international on Thursday.

Ilkay Gundogan’s move to Barcelona has forced City’s hand despite the acquisition of Chelsea star Mateo Kovacic in a £30m deal.

It would be a crushing blow for Arsenal, who have made a habit of missing out on top transfer targets through penny-pinching, with Mykhaylo Mudryk, Dusan Vlahovic and Moises Caicedo among the players who could now be Gunners players without such a commitment to lowball selling clubs.

Reports have claimed that Arsenal are Rice’s first choice, with multiple outlets claiming his desire to remain in London is a big factor for the 24-year-old.

But in a huge blow for Arsenal fans hoping the midfielder may snub City’s advances, transfer expert Fabrizio Romano claims ‘Rice is open to any move’.

Romano tweeted: ‘Manchester City have decided to bid for Declan Rice after calling West Ham last Friday to be informed

‘#MCFC Man City also checked player’s side — understand Rice is open to any move so deal depends on the clubs now.

‘Arsenal, planning to bid again since last week.’

Danny Murphy reckons a move to City over Arsenal is a “no-brainer” for Rice.

“The big question mark for Dec is if Man City do come in late, the choice over whether to leave London or not,” Murphy said.

“London is his home, it’s where he’s grown up, it’s where his family is, but as a football decision it would be a no-brainer to join the Premier League champions.

“If you had a choice between City and Arsenal, although Arsenal are on a great trajectory, you’d pick City all day long.”

READ MORE: Arsenal make £65m breakthrough but fear possible Man Utd hijack: formal bids and where they stand