Arsenal have given manager Mikel Arteta permission to spend big this summer as they prepare for a return to Champions League competition – with defensive midfielder Conor Rice identified as an important target.
Gunners reportedly set their asking price at PS90m for Rice and may sell midfielder Granit Xhaka to help fund his move.
West Ham’s valuation
Even after their recent win against Newcastle, Arsenal may miss out on signing Rice this summer due to West Ham United’s valuation of their captain being an obstacle.
East London club are believed to be demanding a transfer fee of approximately PS90 Million for England international, which would set a club transfer record, surpassing Arsenal’s previous transfer fee payment of PS72m when they acquired Nicolas Pepe from Lille four years earlier.
Rice may be lured away by an offer to move to Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. He may be drawn in by head coach Mikel Arteta’s desire to bolster his midfield options by adding depth alongside Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka while also wanting an attacking box-to-box midfielder who will challenge their current frontline.
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Arsenal are keen on signing Rice this summer and according to well-recognized journalist Fabrizio Romano will submit their first bid within weeks for him. Arsenal believe he could provide essential reinforcement for their midfield.
Rice’s current contract at West Ham expires in 2024 and they have the option of extending it for one more year, although Rice has made clear his desire to play Champions League football and Arsenal are the only Premier League club that can guarantee this goal for him in his future.
Mikel Arteta wants his side to contend for a top four place next season, and Rice would make an ideal addition. Rice can operate both defensively and box-to-boxly and would provide upgrades on Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey at Emirates Stadium. In addition, his versatility covers center back duties – which would be invaluable given their loss of Mykhailo Mudryk to Chelsea in January.
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Arsenal are eager to strengthen their midfield this summer as Granit Xhaka prepares to leave and Rice emerges as a potential successor. He would provide the team with both defensive support and offensive play-making ability; two things which the north London club needs as it looks back towards Champions League competition next season.
Reports indicate that Arsenal are planning their initial offer for Rice, expected to fall below West Ham’s valuation of PS100m. Nonetheless, Chelsea and Manchester United could provide stiff competition in winning his signature.
Rice has played an instrumental role in turning around West Ham’s fortunes this season, helping lead them into their first Europa League final since 1976 with a 2-1 win against AZ Alkmaar over two legs. Unfortunately for West Ham fans however, Rice looks set to leave East London this summer and it appears likely he will go somewhere else.
Arsenal have been given the go-ahead by their top hierarchy to spend big this summer’s transfer window and one target they have identified is West Ham midfielder Declan Rice as they return to Champions League competition for the first time since 2016-17. They may consider signing him as a statement signing ahead of next term’s return leg of competition.
Reports indicate that Rice is ready to leave London Stadium, as he seeks playing opportunities across Europe. Clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea have shown interest, with Arsenal seemingly leading in pursuit of his signature.
According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal are expected to submit an official bid for Rice within weeks and may even meet his asking price set by West Ham United.
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