The race to sign Declan Rice has taken a few twists, with reports of a Bayern Munich deal denied but Manchester City set to join the race.
Over the weekend, one report from Spanish journalist Jose Felix Diaz suggested Bayern Munich were about to close the signing of Declan Rice from West Ham United, but these reports have since been firmly denied.
West Ham insider ExWHUEmployee reports that Rice has not accepted a move for Bayern, and it’s not a done deal for him to join the Bundesliga club.
The reports were described as “very wide of the mark” and “not true”.
Fabrizio Romano then confirmed that there’s been no breakthrough in the negotiations for Rice, with nothing changing on Bayern’s end, and Arsenal set to bid after the Europa Conference League final.
Unfortunately, ExWHUEmployee added that as well as Bayern, Arsenal, and the previous reports of interest from Manchester United, Manchester City are also poised to make a move for the midfielder.
Of course, West Ham sources are going to be more likely to play up interest from all sides, provoking as much of a bidding war as they can. But it certainly seems like Arsenal are going to have competition.
One positive is the Daily Mail’s report from last week that Rice is set to prioritise a Premier League move. If true, that would at least put Arsenal ahead of Bayern.
For the time being, Rice has insisted he’s fully focused on West Ham’s Europa Conference League final on Wednesday.
“My main focus this season, from the World Cup onwards, has been getting us out of a relegation battle and, of course, having one eye on winning this trophy,” Rice said.
“Everything else is just noise and speculation. Obviously, I can’t help that, it comes with playing. But my main focus is playing for West Ham and winning this final.
“My heart’s set on that, doing it for the club, for my family, for the fans and that’s my only focus. I want to make them all very happy and my focus is on doing that.”
For West Ham, Wednesday game is huge, with the chance to earn them some long-awaited honours, as well as securing them European football for next season.
With the exception of the Intertoto Cup and the Championship playoff final, it’s been 42 years since West Ham’s last trophy lift – the League Cup.
But despite the attempts to avoid any distractions, West Ham have already started to look at replacements for Rice, with James Ward-Prowse of Southampton identified as a summer target.
The Hammers won’t want to miss out on their priority signings, which gives some hope they’ll be keen to a fairly speedy resolution to the Rice saga once the final is done.
24-year-old Rice has made 49 appearances for West Ham this season so far, scoring five goals and providing four assists from his defensive midfield role.
Rice is also an England international, making 41 appearances for his country.