The Gunners are believed to have identified the England international as one of their leading midfield targets and accelerated their pursuit following the Hammers’ Europa Conference League final success.
Arsenal apparently came forward with an offer of £80m plus £10m in add-ons last week, which fell short of West Ham’s valuation, and their advances were swiftly rebuffed as a result.
In spite of the fact that Rice could leave as a free agent when his contract expires in 2024, West Ham are supposedly holding out for at least £100m and close to £110m to let him leave in the summer window.
If a club meets the Hammers’ valuation, co-chairman David Sullivan has confirmed that the 24-year-old will be allowed to depart in order to fulfil his ambitions of playing in the Champions League.
According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal are lining up an improved bid worth £100m, but the Gunners are yet to approach West Ham with a higher offer.
The report states that West Ham are in no rush to cash in on Rice, and they will welcome bids from other suitors until Arsenal show a willingness to meet their asking price.
Manchester City are thought to be lurking in the background after missing out on a deal for Jude Bellingham, as Pep Guardiola prepares for the possible exit of Ilkay Gundogan.
Manchester United have also been strongly linked with a move for Rice over the past couple of years, but uncertainty over their ownership situation could hinder their chances of a deal for the midfielder, which as CandH reported earlier has allegedly left Erik ten Hag furious.
West Ham are said to be bracing themselves for new bids within the next seven days, and Arsenal must now fend off competition from their Premier League rivals despite initial hope that they could wrap up a deal quickly.