Arsenal ‘frontrunners’ to sign Man Utd target who’s split opinion, as second source confirms 2023 transfer is on

England trio Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden

James McClean has labelled Declan Rice overrated

A second trusted source has confirmed an England ace will move in 2023, and while Man Utd “admire” the player, it’s Arsenal who currently lead the race.

The future of Declan Rice is shaping up to be one of the most eagerly anticipated transfer sagas of the summer. The 24-year-old captains West Ham, though looks destined for a move up the table at season’s end.

Indeed, the Athletic previously reported the Hammers have internally conceded Rice must depart over the summer.

His current deal doesn’t expire until 2024 and there’s a club option for an extra 12 months. However, the central midfielder has already rejected three extensions and there appears no sense delaying the inevitable.

Doing so would only eat into the transfer fee West Ham will receive as his value diminishes the closer he becomes to being a free agent.

The list of clubs at the top end of the table who’d love to sign Rice is far lengthier than those who don’t. Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle have all been linked by one outlet or another. The only side seemingly not in the mix is Tottenham.

Hammers boss David Moyes has previously stated Rice’s true value is well in excess of £100m. That’s not a view shared by Man Utd legend Gary Neville who believes Rice shouldn’t be valued higher than £60m.

Elsewhere, Rice has split further opinion after Graeme Souness – himself a legendary midfielder in his day – claimed Rice falls short in two key areas.

Regardless, the battle for his signature is still expected to be fiercely waged. Indeed, speaking to GiveMeSport, reporter Ben Jacobs ran the rule over who’s in the mix and who leads the way.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd chances all assessed

Jacobs stressed Rice is admired by Man Utd and Newcastle, though it’s London pair Arsenal and Chelsea who hold an advantage.

That tallies with Football Insider’s previous claims Rice would prefer to remain in London if he does leave West Ham.

Furthermore, Rice is known to crave testing himself in the Champions League and one look at the table suggests Arsenal can satisfy that demand next year and Chelsea cannot.

As such, Jacobs concluded it’s Mikel Arteta’s Gunners who lead the way at present.

“West Ham are resigned to losing Declan Rice,” said Jacobs. “So there will be a summer sale because Rice wants either Champions League football or a club that he knows over time he can get Champions League football with.

“And there are those outside of Chelsea and Arsenal that admire Declan Rice, Manchester United and Newcastle United.

“But I think Arsenal feel like they are the frontrunners and Chelsea are going to be very seriously in the race as well because Rice has always been a long-standing priority.”

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