OPINIONArsenal must avoid Declan Rice transfer disaster as Man City make bid for West Ham midfielder

Arsenal face concrete competition from Manchester City in trying to sign Declan Rice and cannot afford to lose out in the race for the England international.

Manchester City will make an official offer for Declan Rice, football.london understands. The England international is the priority midfield target for Arsenal who have had two bids rejected for the 24-year-old so far.

Arsenal have worked for some time behind-the-scenes but have failed, so far, to agree on a fee with West Ham United that they were willing to accept and it has left the door open for a hijack again. Man City are indeed very keen on Rice, as they have been for many years in fact.

The Gunners have shown a willingness to get the deal done, and despite previously hoping Rice’s preference of a move to north London would allow them to secure him for below a triple-million-pound figure, City’s interest is likely to force their hand.

Arsenal missed out on priority January transfer target Mykhailo Mudryk after refusing to go as high as Chelsea. There are significant differences with this move.­

Mudryk’s preference to make a switch to the Premier League in January outweighed his preference of Arsenal over Chelsea and he proved unwilling to wait until the summer. Rice’s preference has and continues to be Arsenal, the ball will be in the Gunners’ court to match any fee that Man City reach with the Hammers

The winners in this scenario, for now, are most certainly West Ham. football.london understands it has always been the strategy of West Ham not to accept any figures below their £100million-plus valuation of Rice early, hoping that the likes of Man City and Manchester United would come in.