Arsenal FC to sign Declan Rice: Gunners confident of beating Chelsea, Man City and Manchester United against West Ham star
Eclan Rice is Arsenal’s No.1 target this summer and the club are increasingly confident they can win the race to sign him amid competition from Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs.
The Gunners have had a brilliant season under Mikel Arteta and the club’s owners are ready to back him again in the transfer market as they try to get going.
Rice is seen as the perfect fit as he suits Arsenal’s recruitment model. The West Ham captain is 24 and has his best years ahead of him. Like the rest of the Arsenal squad, Rice is ambitious, wanting to play in the Champions League and compete for trophies.
There is an acceptance at West Ham that Rice will leave this summer. He is in the last two years of his contract and has no intention of signing an extension. Competition for Rice is expected to be fierce, but there is optimism that Arsenal can sign him.
The Gunners wanted to sign a midfielder in January and Rice was considered, but West Ham insisted he was not for sale at any cost and would have been reluctant to leave the club amid a relegation battle.
There has been no direct talk between the clubs since, Rice focused on keeping West Ham in the Premier League and winning the Europa Conference League, but Arsenal’s hand is stronger now, with the club eight points clear at the top of the Premier League with 10 games remaining and Champions League qualification all but assured.
This makes the Gunners an attractive project for Rice and they will hope will give them the edge over their rivals, while Arteta’s record in developing young players adds to their drawing power.
Chelsea are an admirer of Rice and it was long thought he would return to his boyhood club after being released by their academy at the age of 14. The midfielder also enjoys a close relationship with Mason Mount.
However, Chelsea are unlikely to qualify for the Champions League and Mount’s future at Stamford Bridge is uncertain. The midfielder is attracting interest from Liverpool and Bayern Munich, with the latter now being coached by former Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel.
The prospect of both Manchester clubs replacing Rice would increase competition for his signature. United have scouted him, while City are expected to be on the hunt for a midfielder this summer.
West Ham will use the strong interest in Rice to ensure they maximize the fee they get for him and in the past have wanted £150million. They will struggle to secure that fee now but will use the ratings of Enzo Fernandez, Jude Bellingham and Moises Caicedo as a benchmark.
Arsenal are attracted to Rice because he could operate at the base of midfield or as a No8. Rice’s character also suits the culture that Arteta has built, and he comes with glowing credentials for his work ethic and leadership qualities.