West Ham United midfielder and Arsenal target Declan Rice has ‘given the feeling’ he is open to joining Bayern Munich, as per Sky Germany journalist Florian Plettenberg.
Rice is reportedly top of Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta’s shopping list ahead of the summer transfer window.
Manchester United are also believed to be interested in signing the England midfielder, alongside his lifelong friend and international teammate Mason Mount.
Mount has been linked with a move to Bayern Munich following former Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel’s arrival in Bavaria.
However, Tuchel seems to have stepped up his pursuit of Rice over his former player at Stamford Bridge.
News of Bayern’s interest has added some anxiety to the air at Arsenal after they identified Rice as their number-one summer target way back in January.
Arteta is looking to improve his midfield and the addition of a new No. 8 is now imperative with Granit Xhaka reportedly close to signing for Bayer Leverkusen.
Rice often plays in a deeper position for West Ham but is well-equipped to play in a box-to-box role.
Florian Plettenberg was one of the first (if not the first) to break the news of Bayern Munich’s interest in the 24-year-old, and the German journalist has provided plenty of updates since then.
Most recently, Plettenberg claimed Rice has held a ‘positive’ meeting with the Bundesliga champions in London.
From that meeting, Bayern have ‘got the feeling’ the England midfielder ‘can imagine a move’ to the Allianz Arena, in a blow to Arsenal’s pursuit.
Plettenberg adds that Rice is being constantly discussed by the German club’s hierarchy with Tuchel as the ‘main’ driving force behind their pursuit.
With Arsenal ready to submit a bid after West Ham’s Europa Conference League final against Fiorentina, it is said that Bayern view an ‘official offer’ as their ‘next step’ in negotiations.
While Plettenberg has refused to close the door, it was reported on Thursday that Rice wants to stay in the Premier League.
This was claimed by the Daily Mail, who reckon Rice has rejected a move to Munich with Arsenal ready to make an offer worth £90million.
And The Guardian’s Jacob Steinberg has added that the midfielder is reluctant to leave England despite having a conversation with Bayern boss Tuchel.
This means the Gunners are still the favourites to sign Rice, with Arteta also still interested in signing Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo.
Arsenal are also being linked with Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan and Southampton youngster Romeo Lavia.