Premier League • England

Arsenal will ‘definitely’ break transfer record on game-changing player this summer, as absolute Edu limit revealed

Federico Chiesa and Declan Rice

A journalist believes Arsenal are ‘definitely’ willing to smash their transfer record in the summer window to sign a transformative star, although sporting director Edu does have a limit on how much money he is willing to pay.

Arsenal’s current record signing is the £72million they paid for Ivory Coast winger Nicolas Pepe in August 2019. He arrived in north London with high expectations after impressing with Lille in Ligue 1.

However, Pepe has not had the desired impact at Arsenal. He failed to impress manager Mikel Arteta and therefore completely lost the spot on the right wing to Bukayo Saka, resulting in a loan exit this season.

The 27-year-old is currently back in France with Nice, where he is aiming to get his career back on track. He is doing well for the French side, having registered eight goals and one assist in 23 games so far. Although, he has missed their last four league matches due to injury.

Arsenal will be hoping their next record signing is far more successful than Pepe. And reporter Dean Jones has shed some light on who it may be.

During an interview with GiveMeSport, he stated that Arsenal are ‘definitely’ happy to spend more than £72m to snare Declan Rice from West Ham. However, Edu will not go above the £100m mark.

“I think Arsenal are definitely willing to break their own transfer record to sign Declan Rice, but I’m not sure they’re going to go above and beyond £100m and break the British record,” Jones declared.

“I think West Ham will be hopeful that that happens. They’re hopeful that they can get £110m for Rice. I can understand why they would set their stall out at that level. I’m just not 100 per cent sure that it’s realistic.”

Arsenal hope to sign £100m ace at major discount

There has been plenty of talk about Rice’s price tag in recent months. West Ham were holding out for £150m before he entered the final 18 months of his contract with them.

But with his current deal due to expire in June 2024, West Ham’s negotiating position is gradually getting weaker. They may now have to accept around £70m for their star midfielder at the end of the season. Arsenal will be delighted if they can get a £100m+ player for this price.

Rice’s transfer to the Emirates could still beat Pepe’s record if certain add-ons are included.

Gunners fans should be far more confidence about Rice having a big impact than Pepe. After all, Rice has plenty of experience in the Premier League already and has shown he is one of the best midfielders in the division.

He can do pretty much everything, from intercepting opposition passes, completing last-ditch tackles and driving forward to start Arsenal attacks.

Arteta’s current first-choice midfielders – Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey – are both enjoying great campaigns. However, Rice would definitely be a step up on either one of them.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have a better chance at beating Manchester City on Wednesday as Pep Guardiola may be without an integral player.