Declan Rice becomes Arsenal’s top summer target – Gunners confident they can hold off Chelsea

Arsenal make £80m Declan Rice their top summer goal and are poised to smash his transfer record to land the West Ham star… with Gunners bosses confident they can beat Chelsea to sign him , after losing to Felix and Mudryk to the Blues

  • Mikel Arteta has identified Declan Rice, 24, as Arsenal’s primary summer target
  • Rice is likely to leave West Ham this summer to pursue European football
  • Sources suggest Arsenal are confident they can beat fellow admirers Chelsea
  • Rice was a youth player at Chelsea before being sacked by the club at the age of 14

Declan Rice is emerging as Arsenal’s priority transfer target this summer as Mikel Arteta is ready to break the club’s transfer record to sign the England international.

West Ham captain Rice is set to leave London’s stadium this summer with the Hammers wanting a deal worth £100million – although there is little hope of the East London club receiving that fee.

Chelsea, who recently beat the Gunners in signing Shakhtar Donetsk forward Mykhailo Mudryk, should be in pole position to sign Rice this summer.

Arsenal lead the hunt for midfielder Declan Rice with West Ham resigned to losing him

Arsenal lead the hunt for midfielder Declan Rice with West Ham resigned to losing him

However, the Gunners and Chelsea will once again face a high-profile player this summer as they battle to sign Rice.

Sources have told Sportsmail that Arsenal believe they are well positioned to beat their London rivals for Rice’s signature this summer.

Rice has continued to speak of his desire to play Champions League football. Arsenal will regain their Champions League status unless there is a full surrender of their season.

From the looks of things Chelsea are struggling to finish in the top four; They are currently 10th and 10 points behind the Champions League places.

The midfielder is expected to leave the east London club this year in search of European football

The midfielder is expected to leave the east London club this year in search of European football

Arsenal’s transfer record stands at £72m, the sum paid to sign Nicolas Pepe from Lille in 2019.

The north London outfit currently lead the Premier League by eight points, having lost just once and drawn twice in their 18 games this season.

Rice, 24, has established himself as one of the best players in the Premier League at West Ham and is a key part of Gareth Southgate’s England line-up.

During the World Cup, Rice was open about his desire to play at the highest level in the game and emphasized that you only have “one” career.

Mikel Arteta's Gunners are reportedly confident they have taken the lead in the race for Rice

Mikel Arteta’s Gunners are reportedly confident they have taken the lead in the race for Rice

“I see my friends playing in the Champions League and winning the big trophies,” he said ahead of England’s round of 16 game against Senegal.

“You only get one career and at the end of your career you want to see what you’ve won.”

After turning down a number of contract offers, West Ham are expected to leave this summer on his current contract, which only runs until 2024.

It was reported that interest in the midfielder had waned last summer when West Ham demanded almost £150m for the player. Manchester United, for example, had inquired about its availability.

Arsenal climbed up to the top of the table by eight points after beating Spurs 2-0

Arsenal climbed up to the top of the table by eight points after beating Spurs 2-0

In January 2021, when Chelsea’s interest in the player first came to the fore, West Ham manager David Moyes said it would take money from the Bank of England and the Bank of Scotland to move the club from east London persuade to sell.

“No matter who the manager was at Chelsea or whoever came in, it would have been the same answer,” Moyes said.

“I said it right at the start and I’m just repeating myself – Bank of England money would be required and you might even need to add the Bank of Scotland because he was so good.”

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Maureen Mackey

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