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Premier League • England

Declan Rice vows to spend his ‘best years’ at Arsenal as huge £105m transfer from West Ham confirmed

Declan Rice of Arsenal

Declan Rice signs contract as new Arsenal player

Arsenal have announced the arrival of Declan Rice from West Ham, with the midfielder conducting his first interview as a new Gunners player.

Rice has been linked with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea in the last two years amid his great performances for West Ham. But it is Arsenal who have won the race for him.

After having bids worth £80million and £90m rejected by West Ham, Arsenal then managed to strike an agreement at the third time of asking. They will pay West Ham an initial £100m for Rice, though the deal could rise to £105m through add-ons.

Arsenal have now confirmed Rice’s signing, with the 24-year-old penning a ‘long-term contract’ with them. As per Fabrizio Romano, it is a five-year deal which also includes the option of an extra 12 months.

Rice, who will wear the number 41 shirt at Emirates Stadium, becomes Arsenal’s new club-record signing, ahead of £72m winger Nicolas Pepe. The initial £100m fee Arsenal have paid also matches the record fee paid for an English player, which is also held by Jack Grealish after his 2021 move from Aston Villa to Man City.

Reacting to his move, Rice told club media: “First of all I just want to say a massive thank you to all the Arsenal fans for the support so far. It’s been overwhelming – there’s been a lot going on, a lot of speculation for months. But obviously as a player, you want to get things dealt with as quickly as possible, so you’re settled.

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“Today I’ve had my first day and I’m feeling really at home.”

Rice went on to explain that he wants to spend his ‘best years’ with Arsenal.

Declan Rice admits he has been keeping tabs on Arteta and Arsenal

“I’ve been looking at Arsenal over the last couple of seasons and the trajectory they’ve been going on,” he added. “Not last season but the season before, they finished fifth but you could see the style of play Mikel was implementing. Last season was an outstanding season, blowing pretty much every team out of the water with the exception of Man City.

“With Mikel and how he works, the squad, how young everyone is, the energy around the club and also the challenge of getting Arsenal back to where they belong, that means a lot to me. I know the fans really want that. For me as a player, I’ve come here really hungry to have more success and to spend my best years at this great club.”

When asked about the capture, Arteta said: “We’re really happy that Declan is joining us. He is a player with tremendous ability, who has been performing at a high level in the Premier League and for England for a number of seasons now. Declan is bringing undoubted quality to the club and he is an exceptional talent who has the potential to be very successful here.

“Declan has great experience in the Premier League at only 24 years old. He has captained a very good West Ham team and as we all saw, he recently lifted a European trophy. The responsibility and role he has taken on has been very impressive and we are really excited that he is joining us.”

Rice becomes Arsenal’s third signing of the summer. They have already brought in attacker Kai Havertz from Chelsea and centre-back Jurrien Timber from Ajax.

Meanwhile, midfielder Granit Xhaka has opened up on his relationship with the Arsenal faithful.