Declan Rice has given Arsenal an advantage over Bayern Munich in the race to sign him this summer.

Rice, 24, held talks with Bayern chiefs last week, as manager Thomas Tuchel hopes to make him his new midfield linchpin. Although discussions with the German giants were positive, the West Ham captain's preference is to remain in the Premier League.

That's according to the Daily Mail, who note that Arsenal remain the frontrunners in the race for Rice's signature. While Manchester United are also interested, the Gunners have already prepared an opening bid of £90million in an attempt to steal a march on their rivals and prise him away from the London Stadium.

The England international's priority is captaining West Ham in their Europa Conference League final against Italian side Fiorentina next Wednesday. Once the potentially historic night in Prague is done and dusted, however, Rice's future will come to the fore.

West Ham chairman David Sullivan has a starting valuation of over £100m, as the Irons board hope to kick off a bidding war throughout the summer. United and Arsenal could square off against one another, while former club Chelsea and newly-crowned champions Manchester City have previously been linked.

Boss David Moyes has already claimed that any fee to lure Rice away from his club will be a new Premier League record, eclipsing the £107m which Chelsea paid to sign Argentine midfielder Enzo Fernandez from Benfica in January. "Undoubtedly Declan is going to be a top player," the West Ham manager declared.

"He'll be a British transfer record if he ever leaves West Ham." When quizzed further on Rice's price tag, Moyes reaffirmed: "There's a lot of talk about it and when you see what's going about for the prices, I think Dec will be blowing that out of the water, that's for sure, when it comes around."

Earlier this month, the Scot admitted that there was a "good chance" of Rice leaving for pastures new come the summer. "We honestly hope he stays," Moyes added. "There are plans that we have Dec here but we're also fully aware there is a good chance we won't have him."

Have your say! How much should Arsenal pay for Declan Rice? Give us your valuation in the comments section.

The man himself, meanwhile, has refused to be drawn on his future amid the unrelenting speculation. "I've not really focused on any of that, to be honest," Rice told Sky Sports. "My main focus this season, from the World Cup onwards, has been getting us out of a relegation battle and, of course, having one eye on winning this trophy.

"Everything else is just noise and speculation. Obviously, I can't help that, it comes with playing. But my main focus is playing for West Ham and winning this final. My heart's set on that, doing it for the club, for my family, for the fans and that's my only focus. I want to make them all very happy and my focus is on doing that."

2023-06-02T00:10:05Z dg43tfdfdgfd