By Anthony Onifade

17th May, 2023 | 8:40am

West Ham United transfer news: Club refuse to enter Declan Rice negotiations as Arsenal prepare official bid - Fabrizio Romano

Arsenal are now planning to prepare an official bid for West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice in the coming weeks but the Hammers won’t negotiate yet, according to Fabrizio Romano.

The Hammers are resigned to losing their key man this summer with the England international intent on playing Champions League football next season, and the American-owned Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have constantly been touted as the most interested parties.

It is believed that West Ham United are holding out for a fee probably surpassing the price Chelsea paid to sign Enzo Fernandez during the January window, and it appears as if the Gunners are prepared to make the first move.

According to transfer guru Romano, writing in his Caught Offside Substack Daily Column [17 May], the Gunners are to prepare an official bid for Rice within the coming weeks but the Hammers are unwilling to negotiate until June.

“Declan Rice has always been a top target and he remains their priority. There have been conversations between Arsenal and Rice, while Mikel Arteta and Edu were already discussing him internally back in January. Arsenal now plan to prepare an official bid for the West Ham star in the next few weeks, but this won’t be easy because the Hammers are focusing on the Europa Conference League.

“It’s not imminent, because West Ham don’t want to negotiate until June, but it’s been clear since last summer that Rice would not sign a new deal with his current club. Arsenal will be there, it’s their priority, they want to try to bid for him soon”, Romano reveals.

There is also interest from Chelsea and Manchester United are too keeping tabs on the situation as Erik ten Hag searches for a midfield addition for next season.


This news was coming for West Ham United and it’s clear they will need to be bullish in their price tag demands for Rice’s services this summer with the England international looking set to leave London Stadium and on the lookout for an opportunity at a top club.

The 24-year-old has become an international superstar and has emerged as one of the best of his position on the continent so the increasing interest in his services is inevitable.

However, given the number of top clubs circling for his signature, that does not mean the Irons should wallow and shirk under the pressure to let him go. He still holds a contract until 2025 which means they hold all the cards surrounding the price he can leave for.

Arsenal seem unwilling to pay the £100-£120m amount [The Sun, 10 May] but that’s the going rate of world-class midfield operators these days and it certainly seems reasonable from the West Ham United perspective.

And with the Irons looking to undergo a stark rebuild of their own this summer, they’ll need as much cash as possible if they are to compete both in recruitment and amongst the elite again in the Premier League next term.