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As the transfer window is preparing to open its doors, Arsenal are edging closer to signing an England international to join the heart of the midfield.
According to recent reports, Declan Rice has been linked with a summer move to north London for several months, as he enters the final year of his contract at West Ham.
Mikel Arteta will hope to sign a central midfielder in the upcoming transfer window, following the pending departure of Granit Xhaka, who looks Bundesliga bound.
The future of Jorginho is also potentially a doubt if recent reports are to be believed, which could leave the Spanish coach two midfielders short going into the summer.
The Gunners have switched between the likes of the Italian international and Thomas Partey towards the latter end of the season, due to the Ghanaian’s drop in form.
Potentially signing Rice could be revolutionary to the Emirates midfield, with players set to depart and some inconsistency in performance in that area, the Englishman would undoubtedly take Arteta’s squad to a higher level.
It’s been reported by Sky Sports that the asking price for the Hammers captain is set to be around £120m, with Arsenal hoping to lower that figure.
West Ham weigh up transfer targets
After an emphatic win in the final of the UEFA Europa Conference League, Rice wrote himself into West Ham folklore in what was potentially his final match at the club.
The Irons’ chairman David Sullivan confirmed to talkSPORT this week that the England international will leave the club this summer, saying that they had an agreement that he could depart.
“We promised him he could go.” 🤝
“We offered him £200k a week 18 months ago. He turned it down. He wants to go.”
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) June 8, 2023
Sullivan said after the 24-year-old captained West Ham to their first European trophy in 58 years that they couldn’t ask for a player who had ‘committed more to us’ than Rice had this season.
Rice was undoubtedly the Hammers’ best player this campaign, and will be a figure difficult to replace regardless of the fee the club received in return.
Sullivan admitted to talkSPORT that the club will potentially have to find ‘several replacements’ to fill the gap his absence will leave in the squad, ending with “you can’t keep a player who doesn’t want to be here.”
A number of players have emerged as potential replacements, with the Telegraph linking Ajax midfielder Edson Alvarez and talkSPORT transfer expert Alex Crook mentioning Fulham’s Joao Palhinha as a potential candidate.
It will be interesting to see how West Ham approach the transfer window should Arsenal strike a deal over his price tag.
Rice not the only star linked
According to reliable transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal are due to enter the ‘crucial stages’ in their pursuit of Rice over the next week.
Bayern Munich have reportedly been following the Englishman’s movements ahead of the window, however the Gunners lead the race due to the 24-year-old’s priority to ‘continue in England’.
Timing is claimed to be crucial for Arsenal as per Romano’s report, however the opening bid is the main talking point going into the official talks.
West Ham want £120m or £100m plus a player as per Sky Sports’ understanding, however the Telegraph claims that the north Londoners will open with a figure around £92m.
It will be interesting to see if and when the two clubs can come to an agreement over one of Europe’s best talents, however it seems as though Arsenal won’t stop at the pursuit of Rice.
According to a report from London World, the Gunners are ‘preparing’ an approach for Brighton & Hove Albion monster Moises Caicedo, whom the club attempted to sign in January.
It’s understood by London World sources that a bid around £75m could be made for the Ecuadorian ace.
If reports are to be believed, the links to the two talents display that Arsenal are prepared to spend this summer, with Arteta looking like he could rebuild his midfield in the bid to challenge for the title once more next campaign.
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