Transfer Gossip: Man Utd to ‘blow Arsenal out of the water’ for incredible £100m-plus transfer; Man City table forward offer amid audacious Barcelona loan plan
Man Utd believe they can snatch a potential £100m-plus transfer away from Arsenal, while Man City have tabled a new contract offer to a forward Barcelona are sizing up a remarkable loan raid for – both in Tuesday’s Transfer Gossip.
MAN UTD TO OUT-GUN ARSENAL?
The Red Devils are a credible threat to Arsenal’s proposed blockbuster move for Declan Rice and another source have confirmed the West Ham talisman is determined to leave.
The 24-year-old has established himself as one of the Premier League’s finest central midfielders. Rice succeeded Mark Noble as Hammers captain over the summer and is among Gareth Southgate’s most trusted generals with England.
During the Qatar World Cup, Rice once again reiterated his desire to play Champions League football. Try as they might, that’s not a demand West Ham are likely to satisfy any time soon.
Rice has previously rejected three contract extensions put forward by West Ham. The latest would’ve seen the midfielder sign an eight-year deal worth £200,000-a-week.
His contract doesn’t expire until 2024 and there’s also a club option for an extra 12 months. However, the Athletic previously reported the Hammers are internally resigned to the fact Rice must go at season’s end if they’ve to extract maximum value.
Arsenal are believed to be the frontrunners for his signature at present. The fact they bid heavily for Moises Csicedo in January proves they had money to spend. Italy veteran Jorginho ultimately arrived, though only for £12m and he’s already the wrong side of 30.
Man City and Chelsea are expected to make Arsenal’s life difficult over the move. However, according to Football Insider, all three could be usurped by Man Utd.
They report Erik ten Hag’s side ‘hope to blow Arsenal out of the water’ and are ‘hopeful’ of convincing him to join the Dutchman’s revolution.
Their remarkable turnaround under Ten Hag is a factor they’ll likely play up. Their presence in next season’s Champions League (barring a late-season disaster) could also come into Rice’s thinking.
Rice is understood to favour remaining in London and that is an obstacle United will have to overcome. However, United reportedly believe they can sway Rice’s mind and add him to the likes of Christian Eriksen and Casemiro in what is quickly becoming a world class midfield.
A previous FI report claimed West Ham may recoup as little as £70m-£80m in the event only one suitor bids.
However, given Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea all seem intent on making a move, any such bidding war is likely to see the £100m mark threatened.
MAN CITY TABLE FORWARD OFFER
Man City have lodged an offer that would improve Julian Alvarez’s terms, though Barcelona are sizing up what would be a shock loan raid, per reports.
The Argentine, 23, signed for City back in the winter window of 2022. Alvarez remained with River Plate until the summer before linking up at the Etihad in pre-season.
Alvarez has looked incredibly bright in limited minutes for City thus far. The presence of Erling Haaland has blocked a regular pathway into the eleven, though he’s still bagged 10 goals in just 1,451 minutes of action. That roughly equates to a goal every game-and-a-half.
Per Fabrizio Romano, Man City have liked what they’ve seen and put a one-year extension to Alvarez. His current deal expires in 2027 and if the new proposal is signed, will add an extra 12 months.
Alvarez is reportedly yet to make a decision and will be given roughly a two-week period to respond before the offer could be rescinded.
Elsewhere, Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo reports Alvarez is a shock loan target for Barcelona.
The publication confirm Alvarez is in discussions over adding a year onto his City deal. However, it’s remarkably claimed he ‘does not rule out a loan’ to the Camp Nou.
The claim is he’s desperate for more prominence under Pep Guardiola – something that’s difficult to achieve with Haaland leading the line.
Alvarez can play wide or in a front two, though Pep has the likes of Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez to choose from on the flanks. The Spaniard doesn’t select a two-man frontline all that often either.
Barca are sensing an opportunity and have reportedly explored whether a surprise loan deal for the 2023-24 campaign would be ‘feasible’.
The player may be willing, but logic would dictate City won’t be. In the event Haaland picks up an injury Alvarez would become the regular starting centre-forward.
What’s more, despite his restricted minutes, Alvarez has still made a hefty 30 appearances across all competitions this season.
Whether Alvarez signs the contract extension or not, a loan to Barcelona seems highly unlikely.
CHELSEA SQUAD TO GROW EVEN LARGER
Chelsea’s squad will bloat even further over the summer after Inter Milan’s CEO confirmed Romelu Lukaku will return to Stamford Bridge.
The Belgian – a £97.5m signing in 2021 – was loaned back to former club Inter last summer.
Lukaku has struggled with form and fitness while back in Italy, though there’s always been talk a second loan spell or permanent move would be agreed.
Now, speaking to Sky Sport Italia, Inter CEO Beppe Marotta confirmed Lukaku will return to London when the campaign concludes, though he does retain hope of forging a new agreement from scratch.
Marotta said: “Will Lukaku stay at Inter? Talking about it now is premature.
“At the moment we have the goal of finishing the season in the best possible way, then we will have to think about the hypotheses on the teams for next year and in this sense, [Inter sporting director Piero] Ausilio is doing a concrete job to identify the players in the positions righteous.
“Lukaku is a Chelsea player today, at the end of the season he will return there and then a new scenario will open up and we’ll see what to do.
“He wants to stay, it is an intention that he has expressed several times and certainly knowing him we will see if it will be the case to be able to negotiate his return with us.”