West Ham had initially wanted a fee of £100 million for Rice in the summer of 2021, with the club’s manager David Moyes even suggesting that £150 million would be the minimum fee.
However, with Rice’s contract running down and the player entering a stronger negotiating position, the club now accepts that a £100 million fee is almost out of reach.
Arsenal and Chelsea are currently in pole position to secure Rice’s signature, but he is expected to cost between £75 million and £85 million, according to David Ornstein of The Athletic.
Rice is reportedly more interested in joining Arsenal over Chelsea, as he is keen to work under Gunners manager Mikel Arteta and play in the Champions League. Rice is said to be confident that Arteta’s coaching will help him become a better midfielder and he has reportedly been speaking to his teammates about Arsenal with effusive praise.
West Ham are expected to have to sell Rice in the summer, with his contract is set to expire in 2024 and the player unwilling to sign a new deal.
While the club has the option to extend the contract by another year, this looks like their best option is to cash in.
The 24-year-old midfielder has been attracting interest from some of the biggest clubs in the Premier League, including Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Manchester United.
Newcastle United are also reportedly interested if they are able to secure a Champions League spot at the end of the current campaign.
Arsenal, however, are said to be growing increasingly confident they will be able to sign Rice ahead of the competition.