Premier League • England

Arsenal use baffling transfer tactic with second offer for prime midfield target as Edu aims to shatter transfer record

Declan Rice and Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Arsenal have presented West Ham with a new offer for Declan Rice that could be worth up to £90m, it has been revealed.

Rice is the main midfielder Arsenal want to add to their squad this summer as they consider the departures of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey. The West Ham captain is ready to step up to Champions League level after winning the Europa Conference League.

However, Arsenal’s first offer for Rice – in the region of £80m – was rejected by West Ham, despite there only being one year remaining on his contract at the London Stadium.

Arsenal are serious about getting the 24-year-old, though, so have returned with a fresh offer. According to David Ornstein of The Athletic, whose information has also been verified by Sky Sports, the new bid is worth £75m up front and £15m in bonuses.

Therefore, it would break Arsenal’s transfer record (currently the £72m they paid for Nicolas Pepe) if accepted. However, as TEAMtalk was told to expect, West Ham have said no once again.

All along, the Hammers have been holding out for a package worth £100m or more for their academy graduate.

Somewhat confusingly, the first Arsenal offer for Rice was supposedly worth £80m plus £10m. Therefore, the second bid seems to have been a reduced one in terms of the initial fee, even if both would eventually reach £90m. Perhaps the potential buyers thought their new add-ons would be more appealing.

Yet according to Fabrizio Romano, West Ham – who still hope Man City might enter the race and spark a bidding war – believe the add-ons Arsenal have suggested would be hard to materialise, which has deterred them from accepting the new bid.

Nevertheless, the Gunners are getting confident that they can sign Rice, who is likely to have already played his last game for West Ham, according to their chairman David Sullivan.

Declan Rice expects Arsenal transfer to happen

Earlier, a report from the Daily Mail suggested that Rice personally expects to become an Arsenal player by the end of the month. He will happily accept their contract offer worth more than £200,000 per week as and when the two clubs agree his transfer fee.

Things seem to be heading in the right direction, even if attempt number two by Arsenal hasn’t hit the mark.

Arsenal have been getting busy in the transfer market this week. In recent hours, they have also reportedly sent in a second offer for Chelsea forward Kai Havertz and an opening bid for Ajax defender Jurrien Timber.

Talks are also apparently ongoing with another midfielder in the shape of Romeo Lavia from Southampton.

He is not an alternative to Rice, but another, separate objective. The West Ham man, who played 50 times in all competitions this season, remains at the top of their wish list for now.