Premier League • England

Trusted Arsenal source claims Bukayo Saka has convinced best mate and £100m Arteta target to sign up this summer

Bukayo Saka No 7 of Arsenal during the pre-game warm up ahead of the Premier League match Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Arsenal at Molineux

Arsenal are increasingly hopeful of securing the signing of a prized £100m transfer target this summer – and any deal may seemingly be down to ‘agent’ Bukayo Saka.

The Gunners are sat top of the Premier League with a five-point buffer on reigning champions Manchester City. Despite losing at Everton this weekend, City were unable to take advantage after falling to a defeat themselves, by the same scoreline, at Tottenham. As such, hopes remain alive that Arsenal can end their 19-year title drought this season.

Before the destiny of the title race is decided, however, Arsenal can soon achieve their first mission statement this season. And by securing a top-four finish, they will return to the Champions League for the first time since 2015/16.

As it stands, they hold an 11-point buffer on Tottenham down in fifth. And the confirmation of their place back among the elite will help Mikel Arteta and Edu enormously with their summer transfer planning.

Not only will Champions League football further tempt potential targets, it will also help swell the club’s kitty significantly.

As such, Tuesday’s Euro Paper Talk claims the Gunners are making plans to sign two massive names from Serie A.

While those reports perhaps seem fanciful, it is typical now of the level of player Arsenal are being linked with.

Closer to home, Arsenal are also being strongly linked with is a new midfielder. The club pushed hard to sign Moises Caicedo in January only to see Brighton rebuff all they could throw at them.

The Gunners ultimately settled for Jorginho, but are likely to chase another new name in the summer.

However, reports claim that heartbreak is on the cards for Caicedo with Edu lining up a colossal £100m bid for an alternative.

Bukayo Saka helping Arsenal to sign Declan Rice

As a result, reports are growing that Arsenal will win the race to sign West Ham’s Declan Rice this summer.

Rice admits he wants to take his game to another level next season amid claims he will quit the Hammers.

And while he has just a year left on his deal come the summer, West Ham do hold a one-year option on that. However, efforts to get him to extend his stay are seemingly falling on deaf ears. And despite their offer to make him the highest earner in their history, Rice is seemingly determined to move on.

To that end, widespread reports claim Arsenal are ready to push the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool for his signature.

Gunners’ hopes of winning that race, though, are apparently growing. And a recent report claimed Rice has told Arteta he is ready to move to Emirates Stadium.

Now in-the-know Arsenal source Chris Wheatley has added strength to that argument.

The well-regarded journalist, speaking to National World TV, claims Arsenal have a major advantage thanks to his best pal Saka.

“I think they have a pretty good chance of signing Declan Rice this summer,” Wheatley said. “He’s a player that Mikel Arteta really likes. I think from Rice’s side as well, there’s a curiosity and intrigue on joining Arsenal, especially with the season that is currently ongoing.

“I think Declan Rice is seeing that Arsenal are really on the up under Mikel Arteta. And, as well, he has friends in the team. Bukayo Saka is one of his best mates in the England setup.”


Price on Rice is a big one

Wheatley believes that, while Arsenal do want Rice, they may struggle to match the sort of money West Ham will demand.

To that end, their boss David Moyes recently suggested any deal would set his suitors back a British-record fee.

That currently stands at the £106.8m fee Chelsea paid for Enzo Fernandez last week.

Wheatley, though, has his doubts and believes Arsenal will have a figure they will want to adhere to.

“I don’t think Arsenal will pay over £106m [British transfer record] for Declan Rice,” he said. “But for sure, the player would be keen on joining Arsenal. Rice is seen as a player who’s going to be the future of the midfield.

“Like I say, he has friends in the Arsenal team and I’m sure Bukayo Saka is going to be on the phone to him all summer trying to help that deal get over the line.”

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