Premier League • England

Arsenal ‘promise’ next signing will be finalised today to put sceptical under-pressure star in his place

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice

Arsenal are seemingly about to finally confirm the signing of Declan Rice from West Ham United after a delay to their club-record deal, according to reports.

It has been more than a week since Arsenal agreed a fee with West Ham to take Rice across London. The midfielder is also understood to have completed his medical and agreed personal terms with his prospective new club.

However, Arsenal are yet to finalise the Rice signing. It has prompted some concerns about whether the transfer will actually happen.

For example, Jorginho – who joined Arsenal from Chelsea in January but could quickly be pushed down the midfield pecking order by Rice’s arrival – has answered a fan’s question on social media about when the West Ham man will be joining, by responding: “Good question. No idea” with some laughing emojis.

Nevertheless, various sources are indicating Arsenal are about to make the breakthrough. According to Sky Sports News, they have made a ‘promise’ to the ‘increasingly frustrated’ West Ham that they will finalise the paperwork for the Rice transfer today (Friday).

The Arsenal squad will fly to the USA for a pre-season tour on Sunday. They remain hopeful that Rice will be on the flight.

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Trusted reporter Florian Plettenberg has confirmed the Rice deal ‘will be 100% done this Friday’.

The Sky Sports Deutschland expert has also revealed that the sum Arsenal are spending on Rice could rise to £120m with add-ons, despite most reports claiming the deal would be worth £100m up front with £5m in add-ons.

Either way, it will be a club-record investment by Arsenal and an astonishing fee for a player in the final year of his contract.

But West Ham have been holding out for a high price all along. With their nine-figure valuation finally met, it is understandable why they have been concerned by the delays in the paperwork.

West Ham ready to replace Rice with Ward-Prowse

Yet soon, it seems their main concern will turn to how they will be able to replace Rice.

For instance, a recent report from the Daily Mail has revealed they are planning to make a £25m bid to Southampton for James Ward-Prowse.

Ward-Prowse, like Rice, has been a one-club man in his career to date. However, he suffered relegation with Southampton by the end of the 2022-23 season.

A step back up to the Premier League will probably be necessary if he wants to remain around the fringes of the England squad in view of Euro 2024.

West Ham have emerged as potential takers for the Southampton captain. Initially, the asking price was £40m, but now, Saints may accept a reduced valuation.

Replenishing their midfield for the post-Rice era is a priority issue for West Ham this summer. Ward-Prowse has the appropriate pedigree, so they will be hoping they can tempt Southampton into doing business.

READ MORE – Declan Rice: Comparing his Premier League stats with the other Arsenal midfielders ahead of £100milllion move