Arsenal have made further steps in meeting West Ham captain Declan Rice’s conditions for a summer move away from the Hammers.
The 23-year old is Mikel Arteta’s number one priority for the summer transfer window, with the Arsenal boss seeking to improve his midfield options ahead of it looking very likely Champions League football will be back at the Emirates Stadium next season.
Champions League football is specifically the reason why Arsenal are ahead in the race to sign the English midfielder, over the likes of Chelsea & Liverpool.
In December 2022, Rice stated the following in an interview for The Guardian:
“One hundred per cent I want to play in the Champions League, 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.”
That is a direct indication from Rice, that if he decides to leave West Ham in the summer, he will join a club that is competing in the Champions League and for the biggest trophies which Arsenal, under Mikel Arteta, is on course to do.
Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Fulham at the weekend, put them one step closer to Champions League football next season, and more importantly put The Gunners five points clear at the top of the Premier League table.
Also within the same interview, Rice said that player’s career is too short not to play in the biggest competition and not to play in world’s biggest games by saying the following:
“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.”
However if Mikel Arteta wants his number one target then it looks like Arsenal will have to break their transfer record to sign the English star midfielder.
Earlier in the January transfer window, West Ham Manager David Moyes warned potential buyers that Declan Rice would be the record British transfer if he is to leave West Ham.
David Moyes on Declan Rice:
“Undoubtedly Declan is going to be a top player. He’ll be a British transfer record if he ever leaves West Ham.”
Rice is a young talented player and has proved it on multiple occasions this season and previous seasons. This immediately makes him a huge asset to West Ham which is why Declan Rice’s transfer fee is rumored to go beyond £100 million.
Former Arsenal player Jack Wilshere is currently the head coach of the Arsenal U18 team, but when he was a player at the Hammers he was Rice’s team-mate and “best friend” as stated by Declan Rice…
When the two played together, Rice was interviewed by the Official West Ham website and admitted…
“Me and Jack has been a surprise friendship. We get on so well, we’re like best friends really.”
Now at Arsenal, Wilshere could play a key role in convincing Declan Rice to choose Arsenal over so many big clubs who are chasing for his signature.
It’s been previously reported that Arsenal have made Declan Rice their number one target for the summer and Wilshere’s relationship with the player could hand Arsenal a huge boost in their pursuit for the 24-year-old.
Mikel Arteta was desperate to bring in a top quality midfielder all January. However they were unable to land Moises Caicedo from Brighton & there was no chance Declan Rice was leaving West Ham during the season when they’re in a relegation battle.
Arsenal had to settle for Jorginho, however this transfer isn’t expected to stop them going for Declan Rice come the summer window.