Arsenal have been boosted in their pursuit of Declan Rice as the West Ham United star is ‘flattered’ by the Premier League leaders’ interest and ‘positive’ signs are coming out of the Emirates Stadium, Football.London journalist Kaya Kaynak has told GIVEMESPORT.
The Gunners maintained their five-point cushion at the top of the table by sealing a last-gasp comeback win over Bournemouth on Saturday, but boss Mikel Arteta and sporting director Edu have already set their sights on potential incomings during the summer.
Arsenal transfer news – Declan Rice
According to The Times, Arsenal have identified as Rice as their top target ahead of the transfer window reopening for business in the coming months.
The report suggests the north Londoners are confident of beating Chelsea to the central midfielder’s signature, while he could be lured away from West Ham for £80million.
It is understood that Arsenal are in sustained contact with Rice’s representatives and willing to put a £200,000-per-week contract on the table as they look to steal a march on other suitors.
Respected journalist Pete O’Rourke recently told GiveMeSport that the England international is interested in linking up with the Premier League pacesetters and could be at the centre of a bidding war.
There is uncertainty over Rice’s long-term future as he is set to enter the final 12 months of his £60,000-per-week contract in the summer, but West Ham could exercise an option to extend the agreement by another year.
What has Kaya Kaynak said about Rice?
Kaynak understands that Rice is seriously interested in joining Arsenal as it would allow him to fulfil a dream of competing in the Champions League.
Football.London’s chief Gunners reporter is aware that the West Ham captain has been taken aback by the Gunners’ pursuit, leaving Arteta and Edu in an exciting position.
Kaynak told GIVEMESPORT: “From what I hear, he is quite happy with that interest. He’s quite excited by the prospect of moving to Arsenal and the prospect of playing in the Champions League, which is something he’s always said.
“He has been very flattered by the fact that Arsenal are making an effort to sign him and going in this way. I think it’s looking positive for Arsenal.”
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Who are Arsenal competing with for Rice’s signature?
According to TEAMtalk, Manchester City are long-term admirers of Rice and should be earmarked as one of the favourites to swoop in.
The report suggests that Citizens boss Pep Guardiola is seriously considering making a move for the 24-year-old amid uncertainty over the futures of Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Kalvin Phillips.
But their arch-rivals, Manchester United, believe they can convince Rice to move to Old Trafford despite his wishes to remain in the capital.
Liverpool are also keeping tabs on the West Ham captain as his current employers will not stand in his way if their valuation is met, so a move to Arsenal is not a foregone conclusion.