Mikel Arteta was reportedly “directly involved” as there was “new contact” made between Arsenal and West Ham over the transfer of Declan Rice in January.
It is no secret that Arsenal are in the market for a new centre-midfielder. Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey have both performed brilliantly this season but they are short of top-class options in that area of the pitch.
It is inevitable that Rice will leave West Ham in the summer as he is ready to move on and the club will not stand in his way.
Chelsea and Man United have often been linked with the Englishman but Arsenal have emerged as the favourite to sign him in recent weeks.
The Gunners are already working behind the scenes to get the transfer agreed upon ahead of the summer. Rudy Galetti is reporting that initial contact between Arsenal and West Ham has “already happened”.
“Declan Rice, for sure, remains a priority for Arsenal in the summer,” Galetti told GiveMeSport.
“There are some updates because the Gunners have the West Ham midfielder in their sights and first contact to collect preliminary information already happened.
“During January, there were new contacts in which Arteta was directly involved. No personal terms have been under discussion with the entourage of Declan Rice, but Arsenal understood that the player wants to join them.”
A separate report from 90min states that West Ham are ‘unlikely to do business at anything less than £100m’. The report adds ‘that’s the figure that would likely lead to a sale’.
Ben Jacobs meanwhile is reporting that Rice could in face “be available for as low as £70-75m” and Arsenal would view this as being “great value”.
“So with Arsenal, their No.1 midfield target remains Declan Rice in the summer, and they will compete with Chelsea and possibly Manchester United as well,” Jacobs told TEAMtalk.
“But sources have always told me that Rice’s priority is to stay in London if he possibly can and that would lend itself towards an Arsenal or Chelsea move. And with Declan Rice, the price has dropped significantly compared to what West Ham were quoting last summer in order to try and ward off suitors.
“So, the teams that were asked about Rice were told a fee was well in excess of £100m, which is essentially saying he is not for sale because nobody was going to pay that last summer.
“This summer, Rice could be available for as low as £70-75m, which Arsenal and Chelsea will see as great value. So Rice is one to watch for Arsenal and also Chelsea as well. They will be the two that are pushing for him.”
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