Top Chelsea target now ‘likely’ to join Arsenal as ‘almost certain’ transfer awaits

Joe Williams
Arsenal target Declan Rice shouts at Emi Buendia

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is now ‘likely’ to leave the Hammers to join Arsenal in the summer, according to reports.

Previous reports have claimed both Arsenal and Chelsea have made Rice their top target for the summer transfer window as they look to solidify their midfield options.

Rice has been outstanding for West Ham for a while now and helped them qualify for the Europa Conference League last season – but the east London club are now heading backwards under David Moyes.

The England international has made it clear that he wants to be playing in the Champions League on a regular basis and West Ham are nowhere near providing that with the Hammers currently stuck in relegation trouble in 17th position.

There have been reports claiming Arsenal are in the driving seat to land Rice before but now Jacob Steinberg in The Guardian insists the Englishman is now ‘likely’ to join the Gunners.

As expected, he is ‘almost certain’ to leave West Ham in the summer transfer window, especially now they could potentially be relegated to the Championship.

The 24-year-old is ‘determined to compete at a higher level’ and West Ham ‘have not convinced Rice that they were progressing’.

Former Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra recently claimed Rice is “not ready” to move to a top club just yet despite links to a number of clubs.

“Declan Rice, we say he’s the future, as soon as you hit £100m, many fans will kill him,” Evra said via Rio Ferdinand’s Vibe with Five podcast.

On whether he is good enough to play for Arsenal, Evra added: “He can (play for a top club) if he has the right manager and the right players around him.

“He’s not a leader, he’s not ready in the way people in the media talk about him. I played with him. He’s not ready but he’s going in the right direction.”

And former Liverpool defender Glen Johnson doesn’t think Rice is currently justifying a value of around £150m.

“If he plays for a top team and has a role, whether that’s you want him to score goals and play the role of a box-to-box midfielder, or you want him to sit there and protect your back four, once he holds that position down then you will see the true value of the player,” Johnson told Betfred.

“Right now at West Ham, Declan’s trying to be a jack of all trades and rightly so as he’s trying to do his best for the team. He’s trying to make tackles, he’s trying to score goals and he’s trying to protect the back four. You can’t do it all.

“If you’re valued by your club at £150 million, then you need to be the best player in your position but Declan can’t justify that value at the moment because he’s trying to do everything.”

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