West Ham owner David Sullivan has admitted they’ve promised Declan Rice he can leave, with frontrunners Arsenal preparing a club-record bid.
Chairman and largest single shareholder of West Ham United, David Sullivan spoke to talkSPORT on Thursday, following his side’s success in the Europa Conference League the previous evening.
Though the focus was obviously on that trophy victory, talkSPORT also asked about the future of Declan Rice, who is heavily linked with a move to Arsenal.
“I think it has to be [his last game],” Sullivan responded. “We promised him he could go. He set his heart on going.
“You can’t ask for a man who has committed more to us this season. He has to get on and we have to get a replacement.
“You can’t keep a player who doesn’t want to be there.”
Rice himself was staying tight-lipped about his future on Wednesday night, insisting nothing is done yet.
“At the moment there’s a lot of speculation going on about my future,” Rice admitted. “Obviously there is interest from other clubs out there but ultimately I’ve still got two years at West Ham.
“There hasn’t been nothing yet… let’s see what happens.”
The Daily Mail report that Arsenal are ready to table a £90m bid for Rice, though West Ham’s proposed payment schedule is a hurdle to overcome.
The Hammers are hoping to receive the entirety of the guaranteed payment for Rice by 2025, as an attempt to secure themselves financially after being named on UEFA’s FFP watchlist.
Yet the Gunners believe they’re the frontrunners for their number-one target, and they’re focusing on getting the deal done before moving on to other signings.
The Mail claim Rice wants to stay in the Premier League over moving to Bayern Munich, and he’s settled in London. So that’s one major factor in Arsenal’s favour.
Matt Law of The Telegraph gives perhaps the most optimistic reading of the situation, writing that West Ham are now set to sanction Rice’s move to Arsenal in a deal worth around £92m.
From the same outlet, Sam Dean writes that Arsenal will step up their pursuit in the coming days, and they’re currently the clear frontrunners. The Gunners are looking to finalise a deal as soon as possible.
If and when a deal for Rice is complete, Dean writes that Arsenal will then open the door for Granit Xhaka to leave.
Fabrizio Romano reports that Arsenal have a bid ready for Rice, and they’ll submit it very soon. He adds that Bayern feel Rice would prefer to stay in the Premier League, and the Manchester clubs aren’t imminently preparing bids.
Football insider Team News and Ticks reports that Rice is fully sold on the Arsenal project, loves Mikel Arteta and what he hears from the other England players, and he’s already agreed personal terms.
The midfielder also reportedly has an agreement with West Ham that they’ll let him leave, as referenced by Sullivan, but only for a sensible offer.
If another club offers significantly more than Arsenal, that could be a problem.
Manchester United have been informed that Rice wants Arsenal, and their interest appears to have faded since then.
With Arsenal and West Ham’s seasons now over, it seems only a matter of time before this deal really starts to get moving.
The Gunners will probably give West Ham a little more time to enjoy their Europa Conference League victory, but they’ll then want to move quickly to reach a resolution.