West Ham captain Declan Rice is reportedly close to deciding on his next club in what will likely be one of summer 2023’s major transfer developments.
The England midfielder, who turned 24 last week, has long been regarded as one of the Premier League’s most complete midfielders. And having made 220 appearances for West Ham since his debut in 2017, he has got better and better.
Now one of the first names on the England teamsheet, Rice has also amassed 39 caps for his country, scoring two goals.
That has, predictably, led to interest from several big-hitting Premier League sides. In order to dissuade their rivals from making a move, David Moyes placed a prohibitive £150m asking price on Rice’s head last summer.
Interest in signing the player in recent seasons has been led by Manchester United, who are long-term admirers.
The player, though, also has a long-standing connection with Chelsea. He played in their youth sides, before being released. And he remains close friends with both Mason Mount and Reece James, both of whom came through at the same time.
Just lately, however, Arsenal are reportedly now in the race to sign the player.
Their manager Mikel Arteta is desperate to bolster his midfield with the Gunners in search of a first Premier League title since 2004.
Sunday’s Transfer Gossip suggests a Real Madrid man may sign in loan deal to the end of the season. And that could give Arteta the ammunition to secure a move for Rice once the season ends.
One thing, however, that can be said with some relative certainty is that Rice will be on the move this summer.
Declan Rice favours Arsenal transfer claims trusted source
His deal at the London Stadium is due to expire in summer 2024. And West Ham have tried desperately to get Rice to extend his stay, reportedly offering him a £250,000 a week deal to make him the highest earner in their history.
However, Rice has so far rebuffed their efforts to tie him down.
And speaking recently, he admits that he wants to test himself at a higher level and play in the Champions League. As a result, a new link for Rice has emerged amid claims a sensational cash-plus-player swap deal may be on the cards.
With so many options open to Rice, speculation over his next club is rarely far away from the gossip columns.
However, The Guardian’s Jacob Steinberg claims a decision over Rice’s future is close to being finalised.
And he claims the midfielder is strong leaning towards signing for Arsenal.
Steinberg writes that Arsenal are making Rice their top transfer target for the summer window.
And they are encouraged that they can beat Chelsea, Man Utd and his other suitors to the punch. Not only can Arsenal, most probably, offer Rice the Champions League football he craves, they also pose an ace card too.
Mikel Arteta key to Arsenal transfer hopes
That comes in the shape of Gunners manager Mikel Arteta, who it is claimed Rice really wants to play for.
They claim he has been hugely impressed by the job the Spaniard has done at Emirates Stadium. He also believes that Arteta can help take his game to the next level were he to sign.
The Guardian suggests West Ham will seek a fee of over £100m for Rice this summer. That would potentially make the midfielder the costliest British football of all time.
However, the figures involved will not deter Arteta or Arsenal. And they seemingly believe his signing can take them to the next level.
Arteta still hopes to land a new midfielder this month and before the window shuts. But the priority once the winter window closes will be focused on Rice. Indeed, their No 1 focus will be on luring him across London at the season’s end.
The Gunners have already added Leandro Trossard to their ranks. And it seems a second signing of the January window is also now 24 to 48 hours away too.