Arsenal will reportedly have to go back to the drawing board in an effort to seal the signing of Declan Rice after seeing their first offer fail – and they next offer will seemingly see them offer West Ham their pick from six players in part exchange.
The Gunners look likely to miss out on the Premier League title this season, with Manchester City now just one win away. Pep Guardiola’s men can seal a fifth crown in six seasons, and the first leg of a possible Treble, with a win over Chelsea on Sunday.
Arsenal led the way for most of the season before being hunted down by City. All the same, Mikel Arteta and Co can take great pride in their excellent season with runners-up spot likely.
However, plans to further strengthen their squad and ensure they go one better next time are already well underway. And Arteta and Edu are desperate to bolster their midfield with Rice being outlined as a priority target.
The West Ham skipper has made clear his wishes to leave the London Stadium this season. Wanting to try himself at a higher level, Arsenal have quickly emerged as prime candidates for his signature.
Indeed, a report on Thursday claimed owner Stan Kroenke had signed off on an opening £92m bid for the England star.
That would comfortably represent a club-record deal for the Gunners if it were accepted.
The Hammers, though, will not make the move that easy and reportedly want closer to £100m for Rice.
To that end, David Moyes has regularly pointed towards the £105.7m Chelsea paid for Enzo Fernandez as a marker.
Arsenal offer West Ham six players for Rice – report
As a result, the Gunners face having to go back to the drawing board and coming up with an increased bid.
And according to the Daily Express, Arsenal may look to offer West Ham a choice of six players used in part exchange.
In a list article of players reportedly set to be made available, they suggest three classy youngsters could be used in a swap.
The first of those seemingly up for grabs is Charlie Patino, who is tipped for a big future in the game.
The 19-year-old has just spent the season on loan in the Championship with Blackpool and could be freed up to leave again.
The Hammers will also reportedly be offered two more quality youngsters in Folarin Balogun and Emile Smith Rowe.
Balogun is enjoying a tremendous season in France with Reims, where he’s scored 20 goals in 36 games. That form has seen him earmarked as a target for some of Europe’s big guns, with a route into the Arsenal side blocked.
Smith Rowe, meanwhile, has endured a hugely-frustating season and has found himself warming the bench all too often. And while rated highly byy Arteta, they would not stand in his way were an offer to come in. Aston Villa are among those linked.
Three Arsenal transfer flops up for grabs
Next up, three failed Gunners signings could also reportedly be used in makeweights.
Indeed, all of Nuno Tavares, Nicolas Pepe and Albert Sambi Lokonga have spent time on loan this season.
The trio have no future at Arsenal with the club actively looking to sell this summer.
Lokonga is emerging as a possible target for Burnley, though a move to West Ham may hold more appeal.
Pepe is the club’s record signing, having cost £72m from Lille. Brought to the club by Unai Emery, he’s been on loan with Nice this season, scoring eight times.
The Gunners will take a massive hit on the winger in letting him leave.
Tavares is also in France but with Marseille, who had previously expressed an interest in signing him permanently. The left-back was highly rated when he arrived from Benfica. However, Arteta quickly found limitations in his game after just one season and he was allowed to leave on loan.
All six players, it would seem, face uncertain futures at Emirates Stadium.
Whether West Ham are tempted by any of these options remains to be seen. However, Arsenal are desperate to get their hands on Rice and will step up the chase once the season concludes.