Chelsea ‘ghost’ into transfer battle for star Arsenal are dreaming of as expert warns of Mudryk repeat

Declan Rice of West Ham United during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester

Chelsea could yet try to hijack any attempts by Arsenal to sign Declan Rice from West Ham, according to a transfer expert.

Arsenal have already been annoyed by Chelsea once in the transfer market this month. The Premier League leaders were hoping to sign Mykhaylo Mudryk, but Chelsea hijacked their attempts to bring him to the Emirates Stadium.

But Arsenal won’t be too bothered if they can remain at the top of the Premier League. To remain competitive at that level in the long term, they will be on the lookout for other ways they can improve their squad.

For example, Arsenal have recently become strong contenders for the signature of West Ham captain Rice. It seems the England international will take the next step with his career this year, most likely in the summer.

A long-term target for Chelsea, where he used to play in the academy, Rice is instead believed to be leaning towards a move to Arsenal.

There have also been suggestions of interest from Real Madrid. Although once more, Arsenal still seem to have the advantage.

According to transfer guru Gianluca Di Marzio, though, Chelsea and Real Madrid could yet be forces to be reckoned with in the race for Rice, who is also appealing to Man Utd.

Di Marzio told Soccer News: “When Arsenal and Manchester United watch a player, it is always a possibility that Chelsea will intervene. They may not be concrete yet, but that can change just like that.

“Chelsea is like a ghost that follows every footballer and can appear just like that. So it just depends on what the strategy of the interested clubs is.

“If we consider Chelsea. Suppose Jorginho’s contract is not renewed, then they need a comparable player.

“And if they manage to score Enzo Fernandez’s signature, now or in the summer, that will of course change things too.

“Then they won’t need Declan Rice.

“But I think Manchester United and Arsenal would also be good destinations for him.

Real Madrid also in contention for Declan Rice

“And maybe we can even add Real Madrid to that list.

“Carlo Ancelotti is a big fan of his qualities. So you should never forget to mention Real Madrid, for the simple reason that Carlo Ancelotti likes Declan Rice.”

Still only 24 years old but with plenty of Premier League and international experience, the world is at Rice’s feet.

It could all come down to who bids the highest for him in the summer. His own preferences will be important in determining his future, too.

As things stand, Arsenal appear to have the advantage. But for a long time, they did for Mudryk as well, and they never reached the conclusion they wanted in that case.

Therefore, things could easily change by the summer, as Di Marzio is making it clear. For now, Rice must continue focusing on his commitments with West Ham as they try to avoid relegation while also continuing their European adventure in the Conference League.

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