Arsenal have made West Ham United’s Declan Rice their top target for the summer transfer window, according to reports.
On Monday afternoon, The Times broke the news that Arsenal had made West Ham’s Declan Rice their top summer target, and that they’re growing in confidence they can beat Chelsea to the signing.
A bidding war for the midfielder could reportedly also include Manchester United, but Arsenal believe their league-leading status will help their case.
West Ham are expected to have to sell in the summer because Rice’s deal expires in 2024 and he’s been unwilling to sign a new one. But they have an option to extend by a year, so the transfer is still expected to cost £80m.
This figure is somewhat disputed by The Telegraph, who claim the deal would be worth around £70m. Rice is reportedly committed to West Ham’s relegation battle for the time being.
The Telegraph claim part of the reason Arsenal didn’t want to overpay for Mudryk is that they didn’t want to disrupt their summer plans – which seemingly includes a big-money deal for Rice.
The Daily Mail write that West Ham want as much as £100m for the midfielder, but add that there’s little hope they’ll get that fee. Champions League football is likely to be a major factor, which could give Arsenal an edge over Chelsea.
Rice himself seems confident Arsenal will make it back into the Champions League this year, telling the media in December that the Gunners can “100%” win the Premier League.
The Athletic confirm that Arsenal are planning a move for Rice, and the Gunners are now increasingly optimistic of winning the race ahead of their Premier League rivals.
West Ham won’t sell this month, but admit internally that they’ll have to sell this summer to get good value.
On Tuesday morning, Fabrizio Romano added that nothing will be decided on Rice’s future in January, as he won’t leave until the summer at the earliest. No discussions have taken place on the player’s side yet.
It appears there won’t be any significant progress on this story for a while yet, but with almost all of the top Arsenal sources confirming the reports, it looks like one to watch this summer.