Revealed: Declan Rice tells West Ham and Mikel Arteta he's joining Arsenal - sources
Declan Rice has told West Ham and Mikel Arteta that he wants to sign for Arsenal, sources have told Football Insider.
In a huge step forward in the Gunners’ bid to lure the Irons captain from the London Stadium, the player has made it clear where he wants to be playing his football next season.
In conversations with the West Ham hierarchy as well as Arsenal manager Arteta, Rice has said his first choice is a move to north London if a deal can be agreed.
Hammers owners David Sullivan admitted in the aftermath of the club securing their first trophy in 43 years that the 24-year-old has likely played his last game for West Ham after being “promised” he could leave this summer.
The Europa League Conference champions are already working to fill that gap that will be left by their captain as they plan on bringing in multiple midfield replacements.
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Arsenal have been working for months on laying the groundwork for a deal for Rice and a deal worth close to £100million is now edging closer.
It could be completed within the next week, sources have said.
Football Insider revealed on Wednesday that Rice has said “yes” to the Arsenal project and the club’s proposal – and wants to remain in London.
There is already a verbal agreement in place on terms, although a fee for the West Ham star has yet to be agreed by the two clubs.
The east Londoners are holding out for a fee of £100million, while Arsenal want to pay around £85million for the England international.
The likelihood is that a deal worth around £92m could be enough to secure a full agreement.
Long-time admirers Man United are waiting in the wings to swoop in if fee can’t be agreed, while Newcastle United and Bayern Munich are also keeping tabs on the situation.
Rice is out of contract at the London Stadium next year (2024) – although the Irons have the option to extend his stay a further 12 months.
He has been a virtual ever-present for David Moyes’s side in the 2022-23 campaign – making 36 Premier League starts among 50 appearances in all competitions.
Rice is set to replace long-serving midfielder Granit Xhaka at the Emirates Stadium – with the Switzerland international reportedly set to join Bayer Leverkusen.
In other news, two Arsenal deals agreed as huge clearout begins.