Arsenal are expected to bid for West Ham captain Declan Rice at the end of the season, but Bayern Munich have also made contact with the player’s representatives.
Internal discussions at the Emirates Stadium are continuing over the possibility of signing the England midfielder, who was of interest to the Gunners back in January.
West Ham manager David Moyes has indicated there is a chance Rice could leave – provided the price is right.
That has also alerted Bayern Munich, the Bundesliga holders with new manager Thomas Tuchel keen to bring him to the club, according to Sky in Germany. Bayern have already reached out to family members of Rice, who act as his agents.
However, it is understood that the asking price for the Hammers captain could prove exorbitant for the German club.
Sky Sports News reported Rice has a “gentleman’s agreement” that he can move in the summer – provided West Ham receive an offer worth £120m, be that in a transfer fee or a transfer fee plus players.
Rice has one year left on his contract at West Ham – with the option of a further year.
Who else is on Arsenal’s midfield shortlist?
Arsenal also keeping an eye on Moises Caicedo’s situation at Brighton. Arsenal had two bids rejected in January – the latest was worth £70m.
Caicedo has since signed a new contract at Brighton – but manager Roberto De Zerbi has admitted to Sky Sports earlier this month that the player could leave in the summer.
Caicedo is understood to be “high on the list” of at least three other Premier League clubs.
Arsenal going for both Rice and Caicedo in the summer window has not been ruled out – but the prospect of bringing in both players would likely depend on money generated from possible sales.
Arsenal are also keeping an eye on a number of other midfielders, with Granit Xhaka expected to leave in the summer.
Chelsea’s Mason Mount and Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan have emerged as potential targets.
Mount’s Chelsea contract is up next summer. The England midfielder has missed the last few weeks of Chelsea’s season due to injury.
Gundogan is out of contract this summer – last month, he said talks with City were ongoing. City boss Pep Guardiola has made it clear he wants Gundogan to stay.
Arteta worked closely with Gundogan when he was assistant to Guardiola at City.
Redknapp: City must keep Gundogan | Keane: He’s world class
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp says Gundogan is a must-keep player for City, with the midfielder scoring four times in his last two Premier League starts for the Premier League champions.
“I’d certainly keep him. He’s a big-game player. You can see he has an influence in that dressing room,” said Redknapp.
“If I’ve ever seen a player in my life that is destined to become a great manager, it is him. He’s the manager on the pitch for City.
“He’s got so much class about him. Why would you want him to go? He’s still such an important player.
“Barcelona covets him. Everyone would want him, but I just think he’s perfect at City. The end of the season is when he seems to come and turn up even more.”
Meanwhile, Roy Keane added: “The only issue is probably over the length of contract. City aren’t known for giving out two-or three-year deals. He’s 32 now so that might be the issue.
“Clearly, he will have plenty of options because he’s a world-class player.”
Will Arsenal miss Xhaka?
Sky Sports Sam Blitz:
Over his seven years at Arsenal, Xhaka has done his fair share of dividing the Arsenal fanbase. Many are surprised he has survived this long.
Some saw him as part of the problem as Arsenal slid towards the middle of the table, others saw him as misunderstood and scapegoated.
But if Xhaka chooses to part ways with the club this summer, his departure will come at the moment he is finally universally liked at the Emirates Stadium.
Xhaka nearly walked away from the club in 2020, months after he was stripped of the captaincy after a public falling out with the fans, but Mikel Arteta told him to give it some time. That time has been vindicated as the Arsenal manager found him a suitable role in the team.
The 30-year-old has been an important, underrated attacking player, and one not burdened by the expectation carried by Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka. His place in the squad is similar: he does not wear the armband but many at the club claim he is skipper in all but name.
Yet if rumours are true of a dual interest in Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo – a double move which would likely cost the club north of £150m – then something has to give, and the reported £15m Xhaka would command might come in handy.
Perhaps Arteta is also looking to refresh his leadership group. The likes of Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney – two of the captains at the club – are also rumoured to depart this summer.
Given two end-of-season collapses have happened in a row – albeit in different contexts – a new changing-room direction might be on the Arsenal manager’s mind.