Premier League leaders Arsenal are currently first in line to recruit West Ham United captain Declan Rice this summer. The 24-year-old is reportedly the Gunners’ top target ahead of the 2023–24 season, and Mikel Arteta’s team is reportedly confident of attracting the midfielder to the Emirates Stadium.
After making his senior debut for West Ham in 2017, Rice has emerged as a standout performer. The Englishman is currently considered as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.
In 229 appearances across all competitions, Rice has scored 12 goals and provided 13 assists. Talks about Rice’s long-term future with the Hammers is rampant as he has less than 18 months left on his contract.
Arsenal could sign Declan Rice this summer
Teams like Manchester United, City, Chelsea and Liverpool are all said to be interested in the midfielder’s signatures. However, The Guardian, via The Mail, claims that the midfielder’s “probable” final destination is Arsenal.
Moreover, as per the reports, Rice is seeking to play at a higher level since he does not believe the Hammers are ‘progressing’.
Prior to finishing in the top seven of the Premier League last season, David Moyes’ team was competing for a Europa League trophy. However, their domestic fortunes have since declined this season, and they are now in danger of dropping to the Championship after sitting just above the drop zone on goal differential.
In search of a new midfielder during the January transfer window, Arsenal reportedly made contact with Rice’s representation over a potential summer transfer. After failing to entice Moises Caicedo away from Brighton & Hove Albion, Arsenal eventually signed Jorginho from Chelsea.
As the Premier League leaders sit 22 points ahead of fifth-place Newcastle United with 11 games remaining, Rice intimated at the conclusion of last year that he might be open to moving on to greener pastures after stating his desire to play in the Champions League.
Rice comments on Playing in the Champions League
“One hundred per cent I want to play in the Champions League,”
Rice told reporters.
“For the last two or three years I’ve been saying that. I’ve been playing consistently well for my club and I feel like I really want to keep pushing. I see my friends here who are playing Champions League and for big trophies.
“You only get one career and at the end you want to look back at what you’ve won and the biggest games you’ve played in. I really want to do that.”
Meanwhile, West Ham sporting director and Rice’s former teammate Mark Noble has reiterated the midfielder’s ambition to compete in Europe’s elite club competition, telling the Evening Standard:
“It’s just the world we live in. We’re West Ham and these players want to go out and play Champions League football – and do you blame them?”
“Dec is no different. Dec will always be hailed at West Ham as a fantastic player and such a top, top person. But I don’t think anyone begrudges him wanting to go and win things. We just hope he’ll keep performing like he has been over the last month or so.”
“Wherever Declan ends up, or however much someone pays for him, whether it’s here or anywhere else, he’s worth every penny. He’s said openly he loves playing at West Ham, but he has got ambitions as a player to go and play in the Champions League and win trophies. I don’t think any West Han fan can actually have an agenda over that.”
According to reports, Arsenal may try to trade Kieran Tierney, Nuno Tavares, and Albert Sambi Lokonga this summer in order to raise money for a high-priced pursuit of Rice.
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