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Pep Guardiola breaks silence on Manchester City’s Declan Rice transfer pursuit



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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has detailed the club’s attempts to sign Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice during the summer transfer window.

Arsenal completed a club-record £105 million deal to sign Declan Rice from West Ham in July, as the midfielder became one of the most-expensive players of all-time, with the deal also eclipsing the £100 million Manchester City paid Aston Villa for Jack Grealish.

Manchester City and Arsenal entered a bidding war for the 24-year-old, with the Gunners’ nine-figure offer beating the Blues’ £90 million bid for the former West Ham captain.

Pep Guardiola’s side considered a move for the England midfielder following the departure of Ilkay Gundogan, who signed for Barcelona on a free transfer after opting against signing a contract extension at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City completed the signings of both Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes from Chelsea and Wolves, having also missed out on Jude Bellingham during the summer transfer window.

The teenager has made an electrifying start to life at Real Madrid, after moving to La Liga despite interest from Manchester City and Liverpool.

Manchester City refused to match Arsenal’s £105 million offer for Rice, and the Englishman signed a five-year contract at the Emirates Stadium, swapping East London for North London.

Prior to Manchester City meeting Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon, Pep Guardiola has revealed the extent of the Blues’ interest in signing the former West Ham star.

“Yeah everybody knows that we wanted him,” admitted the 52-year-old.

“He [Rice] could play not just when Rodri could not play.

“At the end, Arsenal pushed more and wanted him more, maybe Mikel [Arteta] was more convincing than me, or the club itself, or the offer that they [put forward] we could not, what we believed in that position, reach it because we thought on Josko [Gvardiol] in that position, and we could not afford it.

“We could afford it maybe less, or maybe that’s why.”

Rice has made 10 appearances for Arsenal so far this season, and started the FA Community Shield clash against Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in August.

The 24-year-old is expected to start on Sunday afternoon, as Arsenal look for their first Premier League win over Manchester City since 2015.