Reigning Premier League title winners Manchester City are in on the sweepstakes for West Ham’s Declan Rice. This is despite heavy links to Arsenal in the last several weeks. The Gunners have even had two bids rejected by the Hammers so far but will return for a third offer soon.

According to Fabrizio Romano, City officials have recently contacted West Ham to feel out a potential agreement. An offer for Rice has yet to be submitted. The English champions have a potent interest in the player. City has supposedly contacted Rice’s representatives as well.

West Ham denied two bids in the last week

Arsenal saw an initial bid of just over $100 million immediately turned down by the Hammers last week. The Gunners then came back with a second offer of $95 million, plus $19 million in add-ons. However, West Ham again rejected this bid. West Ham reportedly considered the add-ons to be too difficult to attain. Plus, the club also is holding out for around $127 million, with the payments made in fewer installments.

City has recently lost fellow midfielder Ilkay Gundogan to Barcelona on a free contract. They have tried to soften this blow by agreeing to a deal to sign Mateo Kovacic from rivals Chelsea for up to $38 million. Nevertheless, it appears as if the club wants yet another central midfielder to add to the squad.

Arsenal confident, but City has options to pursue Declan Rice

The Premier League champs could try to use Kalvin Phillips as a bargaining chip with West Ham. Phillips has found it very difficult to get playing time since his arrival to City last summer. The club may offer the midfielder to the Hammers in a player-plus-cash deal.

Arsenal, however, is still supposedly confident of signing the highly-rated Rice. Romano claims that the north London club will submit a third and improved offer for the midfielder. Potentially missing out on its top target would be a major blow for the Gunners. But City possibly grabbing Rice out of its grasp would be particularly disappointing for a club that finished second behind City in the standings.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Sportimage