Arsenal are ‘likely’ to land their no.1 midfield target Declan Rice this summer, it has emerged, though there remains no agreement in place between the two clubs.
The Gunners are looking to strengthen in midfield ahead of the new season, with Thomas Partey prone to injuries and no real cover in Mikel Arteta’s squad for Granit Xhaka as it stands.
And West Ham’s Rice emerged as their no.1 priority, with the English midfielder having starred in the Hammers’ European run last season.
Now, as per the Guardian, Rice is ‘determined to compete at a higher level and is likely to join Arsenal’ this summer, despite reported interest from Chelsea, though that has since cooled somewhat since the arrival of Enzo Fernandez in January.
One sticking point could be the price, however, with Rice valued at 80m euros by transfermarkt. That amount, however, would not be accepted, if West Ham boss David Moyes’ comments are anything to go by.
“He’ll be a British transfer record if he ever leaves West Ham”, Moyes explained in February.
“There’s a lot of talk about it and when you see what’s going about for the prices, I think Dec will be blowing that (British record) out of the water, that’s for sure, when it comes around.”
This means that Arsenal would have to stump up a fee in excess of the £105m that Chelsea paid in January for Fernandez should they wish to land Rice, in turn blowing their own current record transfer (£72m for Nicolas Pepe) out of the water.
West Ham currently sit in the relegation zone ahead of their clash with Aston Villa on Sunday, and should they face the drop this season it is likely that Rice, out of contract in 2024, would be available at a snip.