West Ham skipper Declan Rice has reportedly emerged as a top summer target for Arsenal.
The England international, 24, will enter the final year of his contract with West Ham this June, although his deal does includes an option of further 12 months. The Hammers tried to extend the midfielder’s stay at the club last summer but he snubbed their advances, with the player having already indicated his ambitions to play in the Champions League and win trophies.
According to The Times, Arsenal will aim to sign Declan Rice in the summer and are confident of beating rivals Chelsea and Manchester United to the West Ham midfielder’s signature. They appear to be favourites to complete a deal at this moment in time, with Mikel Arteta’s side eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Rice has been rated as among the best midfielders in the Premier League in recent years, and with him gathering a wealth of domestic and international experience, he has caught the attention of a number of top English clubs. West Ham could sell their skipper in the summer as he is unwilling to pen a new contract and value him at around £80m, the report adds.
Declan Rice to Arsenal—Excellent choice?
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been keen to bolster his midfield unit for the long term as he wants quality options to rotate with Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka. The partnership of Xhaka and Partey in the middle of the park have been excellent this season, but an injury to either one of them would leave Arteta to rely on the likes of Albert Sambi Lokonga and Mohamed Elneny.
To avoid such a scenario, Arsenal are scouring the market this month as they aim to consolidate their league position but have no problem waiting until the summer to get their top target. West Ham’s Declan Rice has been earmarked as a top midfield target for the Gunners, who face competition from Chelsea and Man United for his signature.
Rice has made 220 senior appearances for West Ham since breaking into the first team during the 2017/18 campaign. He has improved leaps and bounds in the last few years, establishing himself as one of the Premier League’s top midfielders.
The England international would be an upgrade on players like Lokonga and Elneny, whilst being the ideal partner for Partey at the heart of Arsenal’s midfield next season. Partey has had his fair share of injury problems since arriving at Arsenal, and for him to stay fit and running throughout the campaign, Arteta must bring in a player to compete and rotate with the Ghana international.
Rice, in that regard, would be perfect for the Gunners and his volumes of top-flight experience should see him fit well into Arteta’s plans. Plus, he would also improve the depth of the Arsenal squad which when compared to the likes of Man City, Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool is thin.
All in all, Arsenal could make a statement by beating the likes of Chelsea and Man United to the signing of Rice in the summer.