Premier League • England

Arsenal urged to hijack Chelsea transfer plan by opting for £100m ‘natural successor’ to Thomas Partey over elite alternative

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice battling with Liverpool ace Fabinho

Arsenal have been advised to make a bid for Declan Rice as the chances of the midfielder leaving West Ham in 2023 come into focus.

Rice has become captain of West Ham after spending his whole professional career to date with them. However, he might not be staying at the London Stadium for too much longer.

Frequently linked with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United in recent years, there have been reports that West Ham expect to sell Rice in 2023.

By then, he will have one year left on his contract, unless West Ham activate an option to extend it into 2025. In terms of a longer renewal, though, the England international has not been showing much interest.

One journalist has gone as far as saying he is “100 per cent confident” that Rice will move on from West Ham next year.

But the update came with the warning that long-term admirers Chelsea are not yet in pole position. Indeed, there is rival competition from within the Premier League.

Could one of the other contenders be Arsenal? Well, according to former Gunners striker Kevin Campbell, the Premier League leaders should be looking at him as a reinforcement for their midfield.

There have recently been suggestions of Arsenal trying their luck in the battle for England star Jude Bellingham. But according to Campbell, Rice would be a more suitable addition for Mikel Arteta’s side.

Arsenal told to choose Declan Rice

Campbell told The Highbury Squad: “I truly believe, this is the truth. If you are going to pay £100million, who would you buy? Would you buy Bellingham or would you buy Rice?

“I’d buy Rice. All day long. Bellingham is good and he is younger.

“But the game Rice has is perfect for what we have or what we are going to need. I am thinking he is a natural successor to Thomas Partey, who does things in a different way, but he can control a game himself, like Bellingham.

“But if it was £100million and I had to pick one, then I would pick Rice. I think we have other players there who can do what Bellingham does for us, but there aren’t many that can do what Rice can do.”

Whether Arsenal would spend £100million on a single player is another matter. It is something they have never done before; their record signing was Nicolas Pepe in 2019 for a fee close to £72million.

Rice, who will turn 24 in January, could be worth it due to his potential and existing Premier League experience. Only time will tell whether or not Arsenal will firm up any kind of interest.

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