Arsenal ‘open up’ lead on other sides as Premier League star is ‘huge admirer’ of Arteta

Joe Williams
Arsenal target Declan Rice runs across the pitch

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is particularly keen on working with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta in the future, according to reports.

The England international has become one of the most sought-after midfielders in world football after his brilliant performances for the Hammers and England over the past few seasons.

It is understood that Arsenal have made Rice a top priority for the summer transfer window as they look to strengthen their midfield further after the January signing of Jorginho.

One recent report has claimed that the Gunners have made a ‘truly crazy contract’ offer to Rice with Arsenal willing to do ‘whatever it takes’ to land the England international.

And now Football Insider claims that Rice is a ‘huge admirer’ of Arsenal boss Arteta ‘following the Spaniard’s work to transform Arsenal into Premier League challengers in recent years’.

Arsenal are leading the race to sign Rice and the battle for his signature is now ‘opening up’ in the Gunners’ favour as Arteta and technical director Edu look to ‘complete a sensational deal’.

West Ham are expected to pull in £70-80m with Rice’s contract set to expire in June 2024 and ‘that outlay is not expected to be a problem for Arsenal’.

CBS Sports journalist Ben Jacobs brought us an update on situation earlier this month, he said: “Arsenal’s midfield priority will be Declan Rice and West Ham are resigned to losing him. David Moyes, as you’d expect, has been quick to argue if Rice leaves it should be for a British-record transfer fee. But suitors are hoping for a fee of £70-80m. This is ultimately because Rice’s contract expires in summer 2024.

“But Chelsea’s big-spending could inflate the market and thus Rice’s price. You can understand why selling clubs, especially for top-tier central midfielders, will point to Enzo Fernandez’s £107m fee and ask for something similar.

“I still think Rice will go for cheaper than that, but how much so will depend on whether West Ham get a bit of a bidding war.

“Chelsea also really want Rice. Manchester United and Newcastle United can’t be ruled out either, although I understand Rice’s preference is to stay in London. That won’t be a deal-breaker, but Arsenal and Chelsea can certainly use it to their advantage.

“Rice also wants Champions League football. Whether or not that means instantly remains to be seen, but Arsenal can clearly use this to their advantage given where they are heading. Rice has also spoken glowingly about Arteta.

“So it’s probably fair to term Arsenal the favourites right now, but as we saw with their pursuit of Mykhaylo Mudryk that doesn’t always mean a huge deal this far out. If Chelsea offer big or above market value money, Arsenal would have to go against their transfer-market principles.”

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