Phil Thompson: I don’t buy Man City conspiracy theory about Declan Rice

Paddy's football ambassador Phil Thompson weighs in on the transfer of the summer.


England and West Ham star Declan Rice is on the verge of joining Arsenal after the Hammers and the Gunners agreed a reported £105m transfer fee for the midfielder.

Champions Manchester City were also thought to be interested and were said to have made a bid. Following the offer, speculation was rife over whether City really wanted Rice or whether they just were just pushing up the price that Arsenal would have to pay upwards.

But Thommo isn’t having that. The former Liverpool assistant manager thinks it’s more likely that City were keen but that Rice had his heart set on The Emirates.

He told Paddy Power News that he thinks Pep Guardiola’s gang pulled out of the race to avoid an embarrassing situation where they missed out on his signature.

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There has been plenty of talk that Manchester City just pushed up Declan Rice’s price and that’s all they wanted to do with their bid.

That’s quite devious, I don’t think that was what happened at all.

I think City looked at their squad, and they did bring Matteo Kovacic in from Chelsea, and felt they needed someone on that position.

Rice is a special player and going back two years most people thought he was a holding midfielder.

Pep Guardiola Manchester City

He’s brought something different to his game. He would have played the Ilkay Gundogan role, who will a big loss for City, either side of Rodri but driving forward.

Sometimes with teams, and I had this when I was assistant manager at Liverpool, if a player’s not as keen on your club as he is another the best thing to do is duck out early.

Don’t try and chase else you’ll be embarrassed

I think City have checked and they knew that he had his heart and his mind set on Arsenal.

They’re thinking, ‘Let’s not keep pursuing because he’s not going to come.’

I think they’ve pulled out, probably rightly so, because it was always on the cards, we always had this idea that Arsenal was the team for Declan Rice.

They’re getting a proper player, not just a good player but a good sort to have around the club and to build your team around as well.

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