Arsenal: Rivals ‘move for’ £92m top target as report claims ‘full agreement’ could be reached ‘in days’

Lewis Oldham
Arsenal target Rice

According to reports, Newcastle United have joined Arsenal in the race to sign Declan Rice, who will be leaving West Ham this summer.

Rice has been sensational for the Hammers over the past few seasons as he has established himself as one of their best-ever players.

The midfielder shone in the Europa Conference League final as West Ham beat Fiorentina 2-1 to win their first major trophy in 43 years.

The England international was asked about his future after the final whistle and he remained coy when answering questions. But West Ham chairman David Sullivan has confirmed that he will be leaving this summer. 

“I think it has to be,” Sullivan said when asked if the Conference League final will be Rice’s last game for West Ham.

“We promised him he could go. He set his heart on going. You can’t ask for a man who has committed more to us this season.

“In due course, he has to get on and we have to get a replacement – or several replacements. It’s not something we want to happen. We offered him £200,000-a-week 18 months ago. He turned it down.

“It’s cost him £10million to stay at West Ham in that time (in lost wages). And he wants to go. You can’t keep a player who doesn’t want to be there.”

Arsenal are understood to have identified Rice as their top transfer target heading into this summer but they are expected to face competition from Man Utd and Bayern Munich.

And The Northern Echo are now reporting that Newcastle United ‘will move’ for Rice as they ‘intend to be part of the battle’ for the centre-midfielder.

A new centre-midfielder is a ‘priority’ for Newcastle and they ‘would love’ to bring Rice to St James’ Park.

The Magpies are ‘keen to hold talks’ with Rice’s representatives but ‘there is an acceptance that some significant obstacles would have to be overcome if the 24-year-old was to find himself moving to Tyneside’.

It is noted that Newcastle’s current highest earner is on around £120,000 a week, but Rice is ‘understood to be demanding £250,000 a week’.

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A separate report from Football Insider claims ‘Arsenal are ready to sign Rice in a £92m deal within days’. The report adds.

‘Football Insider revealed on Wednesday that Rice has said “yes” to the Arsenal project and the club’s proposal – and wants to remain in London.

‘There is already a verbal agreement in place on terms, although a fee for the West Ham star has yet to be agreed by the two clubs.

‘The Londoners are holding out for a fee of £100million, while Arsenal want to pay around £80-85million for the England international.

‘The likelihood is that a deal worth around £92m could be enough to secure a full agreement.’

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