The seven-time Premier League champions need to replace Barcelona-bound Ilkay Gundogan; Arsenal have seen two bids for Rice rejected by West Ham; The Hammers want £120m for their captain including add-ons.
The seven-time Premier League winners have known for a long time that they may need to overhaul their midfield this summer, with the futures of Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Kalvin Phillips subject of intense speculation for a number of months.
Captain Gundogan, who played a starring role as City won the treble last season, has come to the end of his contract at the Etihad Stadium and has opted to join Barcelona on a free transfer rather than renewing his deal in Manchester, while Silva has told the first-time Champions League winners that he’d like to move on amid interest from Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.
Phillips has not been a regular starter following his £42m move from Leeds and has actually been linked with a move to West Ham – potentially to replace Rice, who looks destined to move on this summer with just two years remaining on his contract.
Arsenal have been leading the chase to sign Rice, submitting two bids to West Ham, and his preference is to remain in London. But they have been unable to agree a fee as the Hammers stand firm in their valuation and majority owner David Sullivan is adamant that he will not compromise on price – he is seeking a deal worth at least £100m plus add-ons.
Sources have confirmed to 90min that City are now ready to act and have intimated to West Ham that a bid is forthcoming. Pep Guardiola’s side certainly have the financial muscle to meet Rice’s asking price, though there could be discussions about including Phillips in the deal despite his preference to stay and fight for his place.