Man City to blindside Arsenal as Guardiola wants to outmuscle Gunners for star English midfielder

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Declan Rice, Mason Mount, West Ham v Chelsea, April 2022 Credit: Alamy
Declan Rice, Mason Mount, West Ham v Chelsea, April 2022 Credit: Alamy

Manchester City are reportedly ‘continuing to monitor’ Declan Rice this summer, and despite interest from Arsenal, they could be in a good position.

City have previously been linked with the snare of Rice. There was a time when there was hardly a big name in English football that wasn’t interested in him.

That came as a result of his emergence as one of the league’s very best midfielders.

He’s been in that position for a couple of seasons now, and West Ham have generally benefitted from that. Indeed, when he started to really progress, so did the Hammers.

Two seasons ago, they finished sixth in the league, and they followed that up with a seventh-placed finish, along with a place in the Europa League semi-final.

He’s now captain, and continues to play a vital role for the Londoners. That’s all the more important now, given they’ve struggled this season.

If he wasn’t already in line for a move away from West Ham, he surely is after the poor season. Though City have not been a major part of the conversations around where he’ll go of late.

It’s Arsenal who have looked the most likely throughout this season. That they’ve been battling for the Premier League title gives them a great shot at signing the Englishman.

Mikel Arteta is reportedly optimistic that his side will be the ones who secure his services.

Man City to blindside Gunners for Rice

However, just as the Gunners thought they were out in the clear, City have come back to bite them again.

Indeed, Football Insider reports Pep Guardiola’s side are ‘continuing to monitor’ Rice. That they seem to have missed out on Jude Bellingham – now looking likely to join Real Madrid – gives cause for the resurgent interest in Rice.

The report states they are ‘laying the groundwork with alternative targets’ following a ‘big blow’ in that pursuit.

What’s more, they could already be in a commanding position. It’s frequently been reported Rice will command a fee of £100million or above, and it’s suggested City are ‘one of the only sides in Europe capable of committing to that outlay’.

City remain a thorn in Arsenal’s side

City have been a thorn in Arsenal’s side this season. The Gunners have been the side to beat for the majority of the campaign, before Guardiola’s men came back and took top spot from them. That was helped by City’s dominant 4-1 win over them in April.

It will certainly be another blow for Arsenal if City win the race for Rice. In the Premier League, it’s looked as if Arsenal were on top, having laid all the groundwork, only for City to likely reap the rewards.

That might well be what happens in the pursuit of Rice. The England midfielder looks as if he would fit perfectly into the Arsenal side, given not only his quality, but his age – similar to a lot of Gunners’ stars.

He doesn’t actually seem as good a fit for City, merely due to the presence of Rodri. The Spaniard is one of the best holding midfielders in the country, though Tim Sherwood feels Rice is not far behind.

Were they to play in the same side, one of them – likely Rice – would be deployed slightly further forward. If Ilkay Gundogan is to leave this summer, he’d certainly be a good replacement.

City’s dominance of the league could well continue if they snare Rice, and Arsenal might be consigned to second best, or even further down the pecking order, for a while.

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