Declan Rice emerges as Arsenal's top summer target

Arsenal make £80m Declan Rice their top summer target and are willing to break their transfer record to land the West Ham star… with Gunners chiefs confident they can beat Chelsea to sign him after losing out on Felix and Mudryk to the Blues

  • Mikel Arteta has identified Declan Rice as Arsenal’s main summer target
  • Rice is likely to leave West Ham this summer in pursuit of European football
  • Sources suggest Arsenal are confident they can beat fellow admirers Chelsea
  • Rice was a youth player at Chelsea before he was released by club at age of 14 

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

West Ham captain Rice is set to leave the London Stadium this summer, with the Hammers wanting a deal worth £100million – though there looks little hope of the east London club receiving that fee.

Chelsea, who recently beat the Gunners to the signing of Shakthar Donetsk forward Mykhailo Mudryk, were thought to be in pole position to sign Rice this summer.

Arsenal are reportedly leading the hunt for Declan Rice with West Ham resigned to losing him

However, the Gunners and Chelsea will once again go head-to-head for a high-profile player this summer as they battle it out to sign Rice.

Sources have indicated to Sportsmail that Arsenal believe they are in pole position to beat their London rivals to Rice’s signature this summer.

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

Arsenal currently lead the Premier League by eight points having only lost once and drawn twice in their 18 games so far this season. A big part of Rice’s ambition is to play in the Champions League, among Europe’s elite, it is said, and it looks increasingly likely Arsenal will return to that competition after seven years away next season. 

The midfielder looks set to depart the east London club this summer in search of elite European football

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

While at the World Cup, Rice spoke openly of his desire to play at the top level in the game, making the point that you only get ‘one’ career. 

‘I see my friends who play in the Champions League, winning the big trophies,’ he said prior to England’s last-16 tie with Senegal. 

‘You only get one career and at the end of your career you want to look at what you’ve won.’

Mikel Arteta has his side top of the league and the club reportedly believe their position has them in a strong place to sign Rice

Having turned down a number of contract offers, expectation at West Ham is that he will leave this summer with his current deal only running until 2024. 

It was reported that interest in the midfielder last summer cooled as a result of West Ham demanding close to £150m for the player. Manchester United had enquired over his signing. 

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

‘No matter who was the manager 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 only repeating myself – Bank of England money would be required, and you might even need to add Bank of Scotland on to that as well because he has been so good.’

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