Man City linked with Declan Rice bid as treble winners look set for busy summer
Rumours linking Manchester City with West Ham’s Declan Rice gathered pace on Thursday as the treble winners remained the focus of considerable transfer speculation.
Reports suggested City were poised to launch a bid for the highly-regarded England international, who is expected to leave the London Stadium this summer.
Rice has already been the subject of interest from Arsenal, who have reportedly had two bids – the second worth up to £90million – rebuffed by the Hammers.
City did not comment on the reports when contacted by the PA news agency.
It is already shaping up to be a busy summer at the Etihad Stadium, with the club seemingly not standing still following their successes of last season.
Captain Ilkay Gundogan looks set to leave City for Barcelona having apparently turned down a new contract.
It is understood the Germany midfielder has been offered a three-year deal by the Spanish champions on more lucrative terms than those proposed by City.
City were keen for the 32-year-old to stay but were unwilling to match Barca’s overtures. City had tabled a one-year deal with the option of a further 12 months.
Given the player’s age, this was a pragmatic decision and Gundogan will depart with their blessing.
He made 304 appearances in seven years at City and won 12 major trophies, culminating in this year’s treble triumph.
As skipper he lifted the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League trophies. He also played a key role in the run-in, not least scoring both goals in the FA Cup final win over Manchester United – the first of which came in record fashion after just 13 seconds.
City already have one midfield replacement in the pipeline having agreed an initial fee of £25million with Chelsea for Croatia international Mateo Kovacic. The final deal could be worth £30million if certain conditions are met.
The 29-year-old, who joined Chelsea from Real Madrid in 2018, had been entering the final year of his contract at Stamford Bridge. He would arrive at City as a four-time Champions League winner after three successes with Madrid and one at Chelsea.
A deal for Rice, if pursued, would dwarf that. West Ham accepted after their recent Europa Conference League win that their 24-year-old captain was likely to move on before next season.
They reportedly value him in the £100million bracket. He has one year remaining on his contract but the Hammers have an option to extend that by 12 months.
There is also uncertainty over the future of three other senior City players in defenders Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo, and midfielder Bernardo Silva. All three have been linked with moves away.