Arsenal are set to head to West Ham United with a ‘formal bid’ as luring Declan Rice to the Emirates Stadium remains boss Mikel Arteta’s ‘top priority’, CBS reporter Ben Jacobs has told GIVEMESPORT.
The Gunners are looking to strengthen their squad after finishing five points adrift of Premier League champions Manchester City and booking their place in the Champions League.
Arsenal transfer news – Declan Rice
According to The Guardian, Arsenal are close to agreeing a fee with West Ham and are expected to pay more than £100million for Rice if certain add-ons are achieved.
The report suggests the Gunners have not submitted a bid yet, but they are moving quickly to ensure a deal will go through without any hitches, and they will face no issues when it comes to negotiating personal terms with the central midfielder.
Although Rice has been identified as Arsenal’s primary target, they are facing competition from the likes of Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Newcastle United.
But a move to the Emirates Stadium appears to be the England international’s preference as transfer insider Dean Jones recently told GIVEMESPORT that the sought-after star wants to hold discussions with the Gunners as soon as possible.
Arsenal have been handed a further boost by West Ham co-owner David Sullivan, who has revealed that Rice is set to leave his current employers this summer after seeking a fresh challenge.
What has Ben Jacobs said about Rice?
Jacobs understands that Arsenal are eager to thrash out a deal for Rice as he has been identified as Arteta’s number one target for the transfer window.
The respected journalist is aware that the Gunners were preparing an offer before West Ham claimed silverware last week, and it will be lodged imminently.
Jacobs told GIVEMESPORT: “Arsenal want to move as quick as they possibly can with Declan Rice, and he remains the top priority for Mikel Arteta.
“Even prior to the UEFA Europa Conference League final, Arsenal were preparing their formal bid but didn’t want to get involved in any negotiations with West Ham before that game out of respect to the football club and also because they obviously knew that West Ham wouldn’t really want any distractions and nor would Rice.
“All parties have been very clear on this, including on the player’s side – not just club-to-club – that there would be a wait until after West Ham’s season finished.”
Would Rice improve Arsenal’s midfield?
Sofascore data highlights that Rice won four ground duels, completed three clearances and made as many tackles as West Ham got their hands on the Europa Conference League trophy thanks to a 2-1 win over Fiorentina last week.
The 24-year-old may be known for his defensive attributes, but he has shown that he is becoming an increasing threat in the attacking third of the pitch as he found the back of the net five times and provided a further four assists during the 2022/23 campaign.
Rice also has an abundance of Premier League experience, having made 204 appearances in the competition, which will be a huge attraction for Arteta.
The £60,000-per-week man has been impressing on a consistent basis, with WhoScored ranking him as West Ham’s best performer in the top flight.
Rice has been described as ‘unbelievable’ by former Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley, and there is no doubt that the Hammers’ loss would be Arsenal’s gain if the big-money move is rubber-stamped.