Arsenal report: Gunners make Declan Rice number one transfer target for summer

Arsenal-linked West Ham United captain Declan Rice looks on during the warm-up prior to the FA Cup third round match between Brentford and West Ham United on 7 January, 2023 at the Gtech Community Stadium in London, United Kingdom.
(Image credit: Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Arsenal have reportedly made landing Declan Rice their top priority for the summer transfer window.

The West Ham (opens in new tab) and England midfielder, who turned 24 last week, has long been linked with Manchester United (opens in new tab) and Chelsea (opens in new tab) – but now it seems that the Gunners have entered the race for his signature.

Speculation over Rice's future has rumbled on for some time – but with his contract expiring at the end of next season, this summer could well be the one when the Hammers part ways with their captain.

West Ham United captain Declan Rice acknowledges the fans after the Premier League match between Leeds United and West Ham United on 4 January, 2023 at Elland Road in Leeds, United Kingdom.

Rice has made 220 appearances for West Ham (Image credit: George Wood/Getty Images)

Rice is currently valued at just over £70m by Transfermarkt (opens in new tab), although West Ham boss David Moyes claimed last year that he was worth at least £150m (opens in new tab).

The Times (opens in new tab) are reporting that Rice could be available for £80m, adding that Arsenal (opens in new tab) are confident of beating Chelsea to secure his services.

The news comes after Chelsea completed a deal worth a potential £89m for Ukraine winger Mykhailo Mudryk – who Arsenal had tried to sign from Shakhtar Donetsk earlier this month.

Would winning the race for Rice represent revenge as far as Arsenal are concerned? Perhaps not, but bringing in one of the top midfielders in Europe would only further prove that they mean business.

Declan Rice of England during the FIFA World Cup 2022 quarter-final match between England and France on 10 December, 2022 at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar.

Rice started all five of England's games at the 2022 World Cup (Image credit: Mohammad Karamali/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Should Rice move to the Emirates Stadium this summer, he could well be joining the Premier League champions: following their 2-0 victory at Tottenham (opens in new tab) in Sunday's North London derby, Mikel Arteta's side lead Manchester City (opens in new tab) by eight points after 18 games.

Arsenal have yet to make any signings during the current transfer window, which closes at 11pm GMT on Tuesday, 31 January.

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Mikel Arteta has said that Arsenal will try to add to their squad before the end of the transfer window (opens in new tab), stating that 'the club are willing' to do so.

After missing out on Mudryk, the Gunners have reportedly been in touch with Barcelona about Raphinha – who they tried to sign from Leeds last summer – and Ferran Torres (opens in new tab), with AC Milan and Portugal star Rafael Leao also rumoured as a potential wide option (opens in new tab).

Meanwhile, Lazio and Serbia midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has been linked with a switch to the Emirates Stadium (opens in new tab) – although it's thought that such a move could prove tricky.

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...