Arsenal are stepping up efforts to bring Mason Mount to the Emirates Stadium and are locked in talks over a deal for the Chelsea star.
Mount is out of contract in 2024 and has so far failed to agree terms on a new Chelsea deal to take him beyond that threshold. The Cobham academy product finds himself as one of Stamford Bridge's lowest earners due to the influx of new stars in the past year – and apparently has concerns over signing a long-term deal of over five years like the ones that Benoit Badiashile and Mykhaylo Mudryk have.
Liverpool are stepping up the chase for the England international as they search for alternatives to Jude Bellingham in midfield – but now Arsenal are set to play a trump card in their own negotiations.
The pair have been best friends since childhood and though both would be unlikely to make decisions on their future based on each other, the Gunners could pair them together in the same midfield.
Arsenal are looking for a long-term No.6 in their midfield three, with Jorginho only on an 18-month deal at the Emirates Stadium, while Granit Xhaka is past 30 and finding a successor to him in midfield would be ideal over the next couple of seasons.
Rice and Mount could fill those two roles themselves but both are versatile. Rice could play as a No.8 alongside Thomas Partey at the base of the midfield, while Mount has functioned on the left wing for Chelsea.
Mount is also believed to be wanted by Manchester United, with Chelsea believed to be holding out for £70 million for their midfielder.
The 24-year-old is valued at €65 million by Transfermarkt.
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Andre Onana is being rumoured for Arsenal's midfield, Bundesliga star Djibril Sow and Dusan Vlahovic have been touted, while existing players are said to be on the cusp of exits. Folarin Balogun is one, being linked with AC Milan.
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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.