The Athletic journalist David Ornstein is predicting an “Arsenal-Chelsea toss-up” for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice in the summer.
Arsenal were set to spend big in the January transfer window on a new midfielder with the Gunners having two bids for Brighton’s Moises Caicedo turned down.
The Seagulls were unwilling to sell in the winter with Arsenal fearing a third bid would damage their relationship with Brighton permanently.
Instead, Arsenal moved for Jorginho from London rivals Chelsea with many expecting the Italy international to be a stop-gap for a bid midfield signing in the summer.
West Ham’s Rice is one player who has been heavily linked with Arsenal over the past year, with claims Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City are all interested to some degree.
And Ornstein reckons it could be a straight “toss-up” between Arsenal and Chelsea but he wouldn’t rule out United and City just yet.
Ornstein said on The Athletic Football Podcast: “We need to keep an eye on other clubs like Manchester United, who have often been linked with Declan Rice.
“But also, who will be the ownership at the time and are they still in the market to bolster their midfield in a way that we’ve been led to believe in recent years because they’ve been short of top midfield options until the arrival of Casemiro.
“Manchester City – I don’t sense that they’re strong on Declan Rice. But, if Ilkay Gundogan leaves, then clearly there is a need.
“It’s just the sense you get, which can of course change, maybe it’s an Arsenal-Chelsea toss-up for Declan Rice, as things stand. The Jorginho deal very much means a high-profile, high-level number six is going to be on the agenda for Arsenal as things stand.”
But former England international Paul Robinson thinks Rice could move to Newcastle United if they qualify for the Champions League this season.
Robinson told Football Insider: “I could see Rice at Newcastle. I think it is an attractive project for any player right now.
“Rice looks like he is going to leave in the summer. He is not going to sign a new contract so West Ham will have to cash in at some point.
“There is a lot of talk surrounding him and Arsenal but Arsenal have just signed Jorginho.
“If Newcastle get European football, I think that would be enough of a pull.
“Everyone can see the way the club is going. The wages will not be a problem. They can offer Rice everything that he wants. I think Newcastle would be a very tempting proposition for Declan Rice come the summer.”
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