While Arsenal may be in the thick of a title charge and a busy January transfer window, that hasn’t stopped Mikel Arteta from planning ahead. According to The Times, the Gunners are hoping to bring West Ham’s Declan Rice on board in the summer.
It’s believed that West Ham will command a price of around £80 million for Rice’s services. They have fiercely guarded him in the past, slapping enormous price tags on him to deter interested clubs. If Arsenal do pay the aforementioned £80 million, it would make Rice their record signing – the previous record was set by Nicolas Pepe, who was signed for £72 million.
Declan Rice is the beating heart of West Ham’s midfield – it’s difficult to see how they will replace him. That being said, West Ham’s loss could be Arsenal’s gain.
One thing the Gunners do not have this year is an elite defensive midfielder. Granit Xhaka is having the season of his life, but is still prone to moments of madness – meanwhile, Thomas Partey is more suited to a box-to-box role. Bringing Rice in would solve this issue and give Arsenal a more effective base to build on.
Arsenal aren’t the only club interested in signing the 24-year-old, however. Chelsea and Manchester United are also thought to be looking at him and could be weighing up the possibility of tabling a bid.
Arsenal are thought to be ‘confident’ that they can beat the competition and snap Rice up. No official move is likely to take place in January – clubs are expected to wait until the summer, when Rice’s contract will enter its final year.