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Arsenal set to make Declan Rice their top transfer target in the summer

The Gunners remain on course to push for their first Premier League win in nearly two decades, with Mikel Arteta and Edu Gaspar already eyeing-up possible needle-pushing summer business

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal continued their assault on Manchester City’s Premier League crown at the weekend with a consummate 2-0 win against bitter rivals Tottenham in the North London Derby, once again showing that their title credentials in the 2022-23 campaign are not a hoax after Manchester City tasted defeat against Manchester United on Saturday in the 189th Manchester Derby.

Now, with an eight-point gap between Arteta and his former boss Pep Guardiola, the Gunners are still laser-focused when it comes to the transfer market and how they can pivot away from winter failure after missing out on Ukrainian starlet Mykhailo Mudryk after the 21-year-old made a quick u-turn and opted to move to Stamford Bridge in a £90m deal.

But irrespective of how Arteta and club technical director Edu Gaspar intend to supply the senior set-up with badly-needed reinforcements to sustain their push both at home and on the continent, Arsenal has already begun to consider the summer window and the possibility of adding another needle-pushing acquisition in the mold of West Ham United and England star Declan Rice.

According to reports in The Times as well as The Athletic, Arsenal is now viewing the 24-year-old holding midfielder as their top transfer target come the summer and is prepared to lock horns with Chelsea and Manchester United to vie for his services.

It was reported earlier today that Arsenal and Chelsea could struggle in an impending transfer war over Rice after Dean Jones claimed that the England international was not opposed to leaving the capital to pursue moving his career to the next level, while Jones eluded to possible interest in Manchester United, Liverpool, or even Manchester City as possible sum

mer destinations.

But the Gunners are confident that they can tempt Rice to the Emirates stadium and can cite their current campaign as evidence that they would be the most suitable destination above all others, especially Chelsea, who were previously heavily linked with manufacturing his return to the club after the Kingston upon Thames native spent seven years in the Blues’ academy.

With just one year left on his current deal at the London Stadium, The Times’ report suggests that Rice could cost as much as £80m despite being down to his last year, but that figure could be one that Chelse may struggle to push given their spending this season under Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital Group.

Additionally, Arsenal’s need for reinforcements in the center of the park would surely offer Rice his best pathway to maximized minutes under Arteta, with the Gunners currently relying on just Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, and Mohamed Elneny as their only three trusted midfield options after Belgian international Sambi Lokonga has struggled to adapt to life in England after his arrival from RSC Anderlecht last season.

Considering the reality that Xhaka will be turning 31 next season, and Partey 30 in his own right, Rice would offer a talented player profile that would bring long-term stability in the middle of the park while also considerably pushing the talent level on offer under Arteta in a move that could help sustain the club’s hopeful position as they look to return to being considered among the Premier League’s elite once again.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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