Arsenal are ready to submit an official bid for Declan Rice who West Ham have admitted will leave, and Fabrizio Romano has detailed a second transfer that could quickly follow.
Rice, 24, captained West Ham to their first major trophy since lifting the FA Cup in 1980 on Wednesday night. The Hammers bested Fiorentina in the final of the Europa Conference League, with Jarrod Bowen’s 90th minute winner proving decisive.
However, victory in Prague appears destined by be Rice’s last act for the club he’s called home since 2014.
Indeed, Rice has rejected multiple contract offers to extend his stay with West Ham. The latest was worth £200,000-a-week, though Rice has set his sights on challenging for the Premier League and playing in the Champions League.
Now, speaking to talkSPORT, West Ham chairman, David Sullivan, has confirmed Rice will leave this summer.
When asked if the victory over Fiorentina was Rice’s last match for West Ham, Sullivan said: “I think it has to be.
“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.
“In due course, he has to get on and we have to get a replacement – or several replacements.
“It’s not something we want to happen. We offered him £200,000-a-week 18 months ago. He turned it down.
“It’s cost him £10m to stay at West Ham in that time [in lost wages]. And he wants to go. You can’t keep a player who doesn’t want to be there.”
Arsenal bid will be “submitted soon”
Rice’s two primary suitors are understood to be Arsenal and Bayern Munich. Varying outlets have insisted Arsenal hold the advantage due to Rice’s preference for remaining in England.
The Times recently claimed the Gunners have given the go-ahead to signing both Rice and Moises Caicedo of Brighton. According to Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal are about to act for the former.
Indeed, the transfer guru tweeted Arsenal’s official bid for Rice will be “submitted soon”.
talkSPORT shed light on the figures that’ll be involved, claiming West Ham ‘could demand as much as £120m’.
The Gunners will no doubt attempt to lower that price and use the fact Rice wants out as leverage. All the signs point towards Rice to Arsenal being a transfer that won’t have a speedy resolution.
Romano acknowledged Bayern’s interest in the England international, though stated Thomas Tuchel’s side believe Rice’s “priority” is to stay in England.
Second transfer linked to Rice
One potential transfer that is inexorably linked to Rice is that of Granit Xhaka to Bayer Leverkusen.
The Bundesliga side are closing in on a a €15m (approx. £13m) deal and a four-year contract has been tabled. Romano previously labelled the deal “very, very advanced,” while Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg described the move as “almost agreed”.
However, Plettenberg stressed Arsenal won’t allow Xhaka to leave until a direct replacement has been signed.
Romano reported similar, adding “Xhaka to Leverkusen to happen right after new midfielder deal”.
Moises Caicedo and Ilkay Gundogan are also on Arsenal’s radar, though it appears the player they’re determined to strike a deal for first is Rice.
Along with the Arsenal fanbase, Granit Xhaka will among those hoping Rice to Arsenal doesn’t drag on. His future is on ice until his successor arrives – or at the very least is lined up.