The Curious Case of why Man City decided to bid for Declan Rice – and why they failed

The Curious Case of the Cityzens’ Interest in Rice by Mr Munday

As now the summer’s first and foremost transfer saga comes to a close, Arsenal would appear to have come out winners of the signature of Declan Rice for a (very) hefty sum of money.

Reports date back months now to the link between Rice and Arsenal and it has seemed almost something of a sure bet as we have learned, little by little, about how enamoured Rice is with Arteta’s Arsenal project and how he could become a central part of it, about how he prefers to stay in London close to his family, and so on.

Everything seemed to be sailing smoothly along to the inevitable conclusion of West Ham and Arsenal negotiating on how best to fulfil the 24-year old’s wishes to join our, now very attractive, club as it comes into full force after a long period of rebuilding.

Yet then there was, a few weeks back, the dreaded news of a possible interest from Manchester City in our number one target. As it was bound to happen, such news immediately sparked a whole range of reactions from the public. Many thought it was already over from the start, that the moment the Cityzens express their desire for a player they are necessarily going to get what they want – certainly it wouldn’t have been the first time that Arsenal was muscled out of a big deal that they had worked hard to set up by a club with more financial clout.

Others meanwhile speculated that the whole thing was nothing but a ploy by the Hammers, to drive up the price of their home-grown star boy, the idea being that the East London club would have resorted to the fabrication of fake news in order to ensure that they got the price they desired, even though Rice only wanted Arsenal and Arsenal definitely wanted Rice. Others still remained quietly confident that Rice was a sensible lad, who saw himself being a key long-term element in Arsenal’s resurgence, and that we would eventually get our man no matter what attempts from other clubs might surface to steal him away.

Little matter which theory one adhered to, reports of interest in Rice from the treble-winning juggernaut that is Man City would not go away, and Arsenal fans began biting their nails shorter and shorter as we heard how Pep is a big fan of Declan and how imminent bids were being prepared. The story rumbled on, selling papers and generating millions of clicks, as Arsenal put in two bids and were rebuffed twice. Then City’s, until then only hypothetical, interest became very real as they put in a more financially appealing bid for the player. Panic!

Few Arsenal fans at this point managed to hold their nerve and it was hard to continue to believe that we could come out on top if it came down to a bidding war with the club backed by so many oil billions. It had been said that City would only bid if they received assurances from the player that he was genuinely interested in joining – they would not wish to lose face in missing out to title rivals in the signature of a key man. Were we to conclude then that Rice had given them the green light and that this was the reason for them entering the race?

While many Arsenal fans did panic, and a great many more fans of other clubs didn’t hesitate to start mocking us already for being rejected and outbid, others were listening to an alternative story being told by reliable reporters who know West Ham, and other sure sources such as the Guardian newspaper, which continued to say that Rice’s priority was to stay in London and become a lynchpin of the Gunner’s exciting new setup. City-favouring pundits of course weighed in with their words of wisdom of how hard it would be to turn down the Champions, how such a player must inevitably choose to sign for them… but all that was just a lot of hot air! Indeed folks, lucky for us, it’s our Arsenal that has pulled out all the stops to get their man. City have desisted and West Ham have accepted our bumper bid.

Though the matter of the price tag versus the quality of the player will certainly be discussed at length, I believe this is excellent news for our club – my question in this article is more of; why did City enter the race at all if they weren’t prepared to go all the way? Anyone with access to the internet has long since known that West Ham were holding out for a £100 million fee, so why come in with a £90 million package and then leave it there? Theories will abound once more.

Perhaps there never really was a bid and all of this is fabrication to squeeze more cash out of Arsenal Football Club. Maybe, but too many reliable sources have reported the bid, and so the idea that so many would have duped hardly seems likely.

Perhaps City just decided in the end they didn’t want him as much as we did. Perhaps they were just testing the water and then got word that Rice’s heart was truly set on Arsenal and so decided not to start putting up silly sums and get rejected.

Or perhaps they always knew that Rice wanted Arsenal and they just wanted to make sure that by bidding for him we would be obliged to pay the highest possible price, in an attempt to drain our resources as much as possible?

My personal belief is that there was genuine interest from their part, and that the fact of making a formal bid permitted them to see if they were going to be able to turn the player’s head and lure him to a club where success is almost guaranteed. One can only imagine that when Guardiola calls, it is hard to give him a straight “no”, and that even though Rice had been convinced up until that point of his own desire to join The Arsenal, even he himself was left with lingering doubts once City’s theoretical approaches became concrete. Anyone would quite naturally have to ask themselves the question of whether they wanted to join Pep’s superstars, and Rice was entitled his moment of indecision, if that is what in fact occurred.

However, that brief moment of uncertainty that was created by City’s involvement is now over, and it is Arsenal that will be Rice’s final destination – meaning the story comes out as being one of us having gotten one over on our number one league rivals. The fact of not matching our third bid has meant that the Sky Blues have avoided a situation in which two equal proposals force the player to clearly express his preference, a scenario which might have been more embarrassing for them still. Yet the feeling is that this is all the same a great victory for our club.

Whether City were just testing the water, pushing up the price or had more genuine and positive intentions we cannot know, but by entering the race they put themselves in direct competition with the club that wants to overthrow them as the premier force in the league. We have shown that we can beat them to the signing of a top player that both clubs wanted. T

he result is that in the end it is they that have egg on their face, and they might have been better off leaving us to conclude our dealings without interference. We are on the up lads, so get behind Arteta and our amazing team!

Mr. Munday

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Tags Arsenal and Man City transfers Declan Rice


  1. I don’t think Man City were ever interested in signing Declan Rice. They just wanted to make sure we over paid for him or spent most of our transfer budget on Rice. And it worked because Rice is our number 1 midfield target.

    1. Or perhaps Man City didn’t think Rice was worth more than £105m. They could get Gabri Veiga for merely £40m soon

      1. They have already signed Kovacic. Westham was very clear in their valuation of £100m or more. We all saw jack Grealish, Enzo and Mudryk go for over £100m. Westham wasn’t going to take anything less.

    2. 170 mil invested. Now time to balance the cheque. If we can’t sell players this season also then I guess Arsenal might be the biggest net spender in transfer market after Chelsea for past few years. And it will again highlight our failure in transfer market when it comes for selling players.

      1. The main reason we can spend so much is because our wage bill was almost 200 mil a year less than most our rivals which makes a big difference with CL football guaranteeing an extra 50 mil.

        With success and players getting older/renewed that will go up like it did for Liverpool but for now we are in a great position financially.

  2. Have always question Man city intrest in Declan Rice,

    There was a bizarre theory by Eni Aluko , she went on to say Pep Guardiola may have only made a bid to help his long time bossom buddy,
    Legend has it that her theory may not be as far fetched as I first thought.

    Surely I doubt this theory very much, but the speed of which the Citizens withdrew their intrest leaves more questions than answers.

      1. Exactly! Apart from the Eni Aluko theory being away with the fairies, it could never be true, even not only in theory, ,and City raising their bid would have only (again in theory only) have HAMPERED US AND NOT HELPED.

        It takes little thought at all to see this truth, but some don’t apply even a little thought, but just write noinsense!

        1. Not a theory! She actually said it, daft as it seems, and there’s a row continuing with her & Simon Jordan on Talk Sport.

          1. Jax, Sorry to disagree but it WAS AND IS a theory. Her one. And yes she vocalised it, but it remains a theory, by correct use of English.

            A wrongheaded and foolish one for sure, but it WAS a theory nonetheless Simply because it was a wrong one, does not lessen the fact it WAS a theory, however silly a one it undoubtedly was

            1. Yeah jon, sorry I thought it was being suggested that the story was a theory. Yes, a theory on her part, and what she’s actually suggesting is that fraud took place between Pep & Arteta, and that she has commited this herself on numerous occasions. Crazy stuff.

              1. What you suggest she alleged even though it hasn’t happened, would NOT be fraud.

                Fraud is very serious and such an arrangement between clubs would not be fraud, but simply a business arrangement.

                Its academic anyway, as it did not happen and was never on the cards, except to silly Aluko.

      2. She said it was to force Arsenal’s owners to hurry and finish the deal, something she often did as a sporting director, although she was actually almost laughing when she said it.

    1. Aluko has been totally embarrassed by her ridiculous theory and would anyone honestly think a club of our integrity would get involved in such subterfuge and whilst City obviously have doubtful morals, would they do this with 105 charges already being investigated?

  3. As a City fan, I think you’ve got a cracking player and £105 million, for a young, England international well, that’s about par I’d say. Arteta will improve him just as Pep has done with many others and you’ll see he’s value for the money you’ve paid. I said a couple of months ago that I’d rather have Rice than Bellingham but only time will tell. As you say, I think we were “testing the waters” and had we got a more enthusiastic /positive reaction from him, we may well have upped our bid. Having said that, we’ve walked away from deals before, when we thought the fee was too much, Cucurella, Maguire and a while ago, Phil Jones (dodged a bullet there!) but I don’t think it was that in this case, he wanted you more than us so, we walked away.

  4. They set a price and bid accordingly, they had done a full analysis and had a max amount they would bid or walk away.

    I’d say it’s the exact opposite of a failed bid, it’s a well planned transfer strategy and they didn’t cave to another clubs request

  5. They were interested in him but didn’t think he was worth over 90 million. Also maybe Rice told them that he prefers Arsenal or maybe offered him less money

  6. Maybe City or Pep are getting tired of people saying how they bought their titles so they came up with a number that they thought was fair and they wouldn’t go past it but then watched as Arsenal passed that number

  7. Where is this Vivek guy? I want to ask him if now Edu should be sacked after Havertz, Rice and Timber deals. And one more midfield in the pipeline

  8. Apparently City were never interested in City. there’s been rumours that Pep was doing MA a favour by putting a bid which they knew would be turned down and then anouncing they were no longer in the race for Rice,leaving Arsenal as the only club willing/able to a pay a fee close to what WH wanted.i don’t know how true it is but from what I heard it is something clubs do.

    1. Perhaps they are more interested in United then!! Just teasing, but little gets past my noticing.

    2. And I also heard that the earth is flat and has aliens visiting corn field farms in the US on a daily basis.

      1. That’s not true. The Earth is actually a cube and the aliens are visiting animal farms, not corn field farms

      2. Well I can beat even that.
        I claim to have seen two policeman walking together on the beat. No one believes me of course. .

  9. Lovely summation of the process.

    I much enjoyed reading it and would have awarded it 100% instead of the 99% which I do award it, due entirely to use of the ugly Americanism “gotten”, instead of the more attractive and CORRECT “got”!
    I can think of litte in our rich English language which the ugly Americanisms do not cheapen and coarsen. Ugh!

    1. Well I’d certainly take 99% from a just arsenal stalwart such as yourself, especially for my first ever stab at sports writing!

      I am aware of the « gotten » controversy but I just can’t help myself from preferring it. It’s gone out of use in Br English but does originally come from the spoken tongue of our fair isle long before the yanks took it up.

      It’s seeing a bit of a revival or so it would seem, somewhat ironically considered an American influence on our culture even though it’s from language that first of all came from inhabitants of Great Britain.

      Thank you for the encouragements!

      1. Mr Munday, you write extremely well and ghastly Americanisms are sadly much in use in English.

        I am unaware of what you say about “gotten ” and will now check what you say to verify and possibly educate myself.
        But please do not use it again, even though I much HOPE you write articles again and soon..

    2. Very simple, Declan Rice has always wanted Arsenal. Mancity discovered even if they bit arsenal in the bid the player may reject them. Therefore, mancity backed out.

  10. I believe the gaffers conspired to see how serious West Ham were in their non-budge evaluation of Rice. Arteta or the board thought West Ham was trying to milk us.

    With a simmilar offer being tabled and also being rejected it was clear to us that West Ham would stand firm hence the increased bid.

  11. City were not even interested infact, city they don’t pay big monies for prayers,but it’s like they really helped us get the deal done when they bid

  12. I think the main scenario here is that rice had seen the midfield setup at mancity and he knew straight away that it’s only a long term injury to rodri will make him start for city. The two pressing DM positions are for rodri and kovacic and so warming the bench with Philips next to him was the nightmarish scenario he wanted to avoid at all cost.

  13. I wonder why they have not bid for Caiceido. I mean his transfer is only 80m pounds.

  14. The truth is City wanted Rice but at a price, he was not their No1 target. They tried their luck, knowing that Rice was first choice for Rice and Arsenal. City have other targets and other priorities. They were not in a bidding war, they are not in a position to force one. The only team that stood any chance of getting Rice was Chelsea but they are a long way from being in a position to sign him because they need to sell at least 6 players (and not reserves either) before they would be in a position too. Rice was not willing to wait and pushed this transfer through. Utd tried to offer two players for Rice but that was also doomed because one of the players didn’t want to move and Rice didn’t want to leave London.

  15. According to a report in one of the nationals (can’t remember which one) Man City has got previous for this. They entered the bidding for Harry McGuire and Cucurella then pulled out after Man U and Chelsea upped their bids. Or maybe they just pull out if their valuation of a player is not accepted? Imo this appears more likely to be the case.

  16. As if, Rice is a very exciting player, we were on the edge of our seats, our hearts pounding….
    Man, this is not Ozil or a 30 goals a season striker…

  17. The big question here is not that. It is: Why City, who lost Gundogan, an attacking midfielder, wants to replace him with a defensive midfielder (Rice) when City has already two players in that position.

    1. Agree CanGun, a player like Nicolo Barella of Inter would be more like for like, he looks a younger version of Gundogan.

  18. We can theorise as much as we want but if the end result is that Rice wears the Arsenal come August, it can only be to our benefit. Rice is not a spectacular player in the sense of De Bruyne but he keeps a level especially in those second half moments when the the rest of the Arsenal team lose theirs. Also he will take some of the pressure off Odegaard who far to often has been required to carry the mid field on his own.

  19. Perhaps Arteta called Pep to make similar bid and back out. Perhaps a cerebral reality check for West Ham owners of Rice’s preference and actual market valuation. Perhaps Pep is always crazy and want some competition next season. Perhaps Pep owes Arteta some dues. I don’t see any other way. Definitely a 4D chess move against West Ham owner who wanted 120M.

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