Arsenal ‘secret agent’ will exploit ‘close relationship’ to ensure Arteta’s side sign £100m Man City target

Lewis Oldham
Arsenal target Rice

Arsenal reportedly have a ‘secret agent’ who will help them beat Manchester City and Chelsea to sign West Ham and England star Declan Rice.

The Gunners have identified Rice as a main target ahead of the summer transfer window. They signed Jorginho in January but they are looking to sign at least one new midfielder who can provide competition for the likes of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka.

Rice has admitted that he is keen to move to a Champions League team following West Ham’s decline this season. Mikel Arteta is said to be ‘directly involved’ in discussions as Arsenal look to recruit the England international.

It is anticipated that he could cost as much as £100m this summer and Man City are among the clubs also interested in signing him from West Ham.

But The Daily Mail are reporting that Jack Wilshere is Arsenal’s ‘secret agent’ in the pursuit of Rice. The pair ‘formed a close relationship’ during their time together at West Ham and they ‘remain tight’.

It is noted that the ‘Wilshere-factor could well be an influencer as Rice decides his next destination’.

Wilshere announced his retirement at the age of 30 last summer. He has since returned to Arsenal to become the manager of their U18 side.

The report adds: ‘Chelsea are interested, but without Champions League football – which looks likely – Rice will think twice about a return to Stamford Bridge.

‘Manchester United could also be an option for the England international but Arsenal are believed to be in pole position.’

Rice has arguably been one of the Premier League’s best midfielders in recent seasons as he helped West Ham qualify for Europe. He also shone for England at the World Cup and European Championships.

Despite this, Roy Keane feels that Rice must do “a lot more” to be classed as “one of the top midfielders in the country”. 

“Obviously he has got to focus on doing well for West Ham for the rest of the season, I don’t think he has been great this season I really don’t,” Keane told ITV.

“He has not really kicked on for all the talk about him, a lot of good PR coming out of West Ham from how much he has worked. I think he needs to do a lot more – doesn’t score a lot of goals, doesn’t get enough assists.

“I think I know what I am talking about, I played midfield, he needs to do a lot more. I have been a fan of him, he turns up every week but I just want a bit more from him, there’s talk of him leaving for big money and going for one of the bigger clubs, competing for trophies and playing in the Champions League, he needs to do a lot more it is as simple as that.

“Sometimes I see him at West Ham, not saying he is playing badly but sometimes he is going through the motions, sidewards, backwards, picking the easy option. He needs to do a lot more to be one of the top midfielders in the country.”

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