Premier League • England

Mikel Arteta playing crucial role in Arsenal pursuit of £100m-rated star, as selling club finally warms to exit

England trio Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden

Mikel Arteta is ‘directly involved’ as Arsenal look to beat a host of clubs to a player rated at over £100million, according to one journalist.

Arsenal’s transfer policy under Arteta and sporting director Edu Gaspar has been very effective. In summer 2021, the squad was bolstered by the impressive signings of Ben White, Martin Odegaard and Aaron Ramsdale. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Albert Sambi Lokonga also moved to the Emirates.

In summer 2022, more new arrivals came in. They were Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fabio Vieira, Matt Turner and Marquinhos.

Ramsdale, White, Odegaard, Zinchenko and Jesus have all had big impacts in particular. They are regulars in the Arsenal starting eleven this season who have helped the Gunners reach top spot in the Premier League. Jesus may be injured currently, but before the World Cup he had a big influence on the Arsenal attack.

Arteta and Edu are not content with standing still though and improved the squad even further in January with three new captures. Leandro Trossard, Jorginho and Jakub Kiwior all joined.

Trossard will compete with Gabriel Martinelli for a spot on the left wing. He can also play as a false nine if required. Jorginho will provide competition for Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey in central midfield, while Kiwior can deputise for William Saliba and Gabriel at centre-half.

Arsenal may have brought in a new midfielder during January in the form of Jorginho, but they could dip back into the market to bolster the position even more at the end of the season.

West Ham star Declan Rice is seemingly their main transfer target. David Moyes has previously said he is worth way more than £100million, but with his contract expiring in June 2024 the Irons may have to sell this summer. And they will not be able to hold out for that full £100m+ valuation, either.

Mikel Arteta ‘directly involved’ in transfer discussions

Arsenal are pushing hard to win the race for the Englishman amid competition from clubs such as Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle.

And according to Italian reporter Rudy Galetti, Arteta is playing a big role in Arsenal’s chase for Rice. During an interview with GiveMeSport, Galetti said: “Declan Rice, for sure, remains a priority for Arsenal in the summer.

“There are some updates because the Gunners have the West Ham midfielder in their sights and first contact to collect preliminary information already happened.

“During January, there were new contacts in which Arteta was directly involved. No personal terms have been under discussion with the entourage of Declan Rice. But Arsenal understood that the player wants to join them.”

There has also been an update on Rice’s situation from his former team-mate, and current West Ham sporting director, Mark Noble.

West Ham chief admits Declan Rice sale definitely possible

When speaking to the Evening Standard, Noble revealed how West Ham’s opinion on Rice’s departure has completed changed. While Moyes has previously stated he will not be going anywhere, Noble admits the club cannot stop Rice from achieving his dream of playing for a Champions League side.

“We’re West Ham and these players want to go out and play Champions League football — and do you blame them?” the former midfielder said.

“Dec is no different. Dec will always be hailed at West Ham as a fantastic player and such a top, top person. But I don’t think anyone begrudges him wanting to go and win things. We just hope he’ll keep performing like he has been over the last month or so.

“Wherever Declan ends up, or however much someone pays for him, whether it’s here or anywhere else, he’s worth every penny.

“He’s said openly he loves playing at West Ham. But he has got ambitions as a player to go and play in the Champions League and win trophies. I don’t think any West Han fan can actually have an agenda over that.

“Do you blame him for having really big ambitions? Of course you don’t. If he didn’t, he probably wouldn’t be as good as he is.”

Meanwhile, Arteta could cause Liverpool a ‘big problem’ by getting to a German Bundesliga ace first.