Okay, so West Ham have rejected our first official bid for Declan Rice. I checked the window. The sky hasn’t fallen. Hell, I’m told, has not frozen over. Pigs are not flying. In other words, this is the way things work. We bid, they decline, we reconsider, we bid again. This isn’t mom’s spaghetti. We get more than one shot. However, going by the reactions, you’d think the club itself has gone to pieces.
Over in the seedier part of London, Chelsea, who are desperate to sell, have rejected Man U’s £40m bid for Mason Mount. The suddenly pennywise club value Mount at £70m even though his contract has just one year left. It would seem though that Man U are simply playing hardball while Arsenal, apparently, just don’t know what they’re doing.
Take the tweet you see above. It makes a salient, entirely valid point: offering 80% of the asking price for a player whose value is 1000% like walking into Tesco and offering 20% of the price for a beef joint because we all know that every price at Tesco is merely a starting point for negotiation. I actually have a confession to make: this is news to me. I’ve spent my life foolishly paying the sticker price without ever thinking “hey, getting my groceries is just like buying a footballer. I’m going to drive these prices down with some low-ball bidding.” Just think of all the money I’ve wasted down the years. I could have invested…let’s be honest. I would have wasted it in some other way.
Time to drop that tiresome little charade. So our opening bid fell short of West Ham’s valuation. That doesn’t prove that their valuation is valid or fixed. It’s being reported that we would like to spread the fee over a longer period than West Ham want, and we’ve included clauses or add-ons that might be difficult to achieve. I suspect that a final fee will be somewhere in the £85m range with maybe £10m in add-ons.
This is of course based on the (hopefully not naive) assumption that Man City stay out of it. They can of course buy pretty much anyone they want at any price they feel, but Rice should consider that City not only have Rodri and Gündoğan (for now) and are in pursuit of Chelsea’s Mateo Kovačić, whom they can probably get at a lower fee. What’s more, looming somewhere in the background is the remote chance of something resembling what some might see as a potential possibility of something resembling sanctions for those 115 alleged financial violations. Therefore, Rice want to think twice. True because it rhymes.
Despite our good friend Joe’s tweet, all outward signs point to Rice joining Arsenal: he wants to stay in London. He wants Champions League football. He’s been seen cavorting and hugging Ramsdale and Saka. He’s agreed personal terms with Arsenal. And so on. Negotiations will continue, and I doubt they’ll conclude before the weekend. Of course, the longer those talks continue, the greater the risk of some other club turning Rice’s head. Still, I feel like we’re pretty much where we should be. Trust the process, right?