Arsenal in talks with £62m Everton player, as surprise Declan Rice alternative: report

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta celebrates the win after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 15, 2023 in London, United Kingdom.
(Image credit: Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Arsenal are targeting a £62 million Everton star as the shock backup option to Declan  Rice.

That's according to one report that says that the Gunners have a Plan B for if they cannot lure West Ham United captain Rice from east London to north this summer. Arsenal could be about to smash their transfer record for the defensive midfielder but with competition from rivals – not to mention a steep asking price – the deal is far from simple. 

The table-toppers have been beaten to high-profile targets, too, in recent times. January saw Chelsea gazump their rivals for Mykhaylo Mudryk, while the season before, Dusan Vlahovic rejected them for Juventus. Arsenal have failed to meet the asking prices for Moises Caicedo, Pedro Neto and Douglas Luiz in the last year, too. 

Declan Rice of West Ham looks dejected during the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on March 1, 2023 in Manchester, England.

Arsenal want Declan Rice – but they won't overpay for the England star (Image credit: Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

As a backup option to Rice, Belgian outlet Het Nieuwsblad has made the claim that Arsenal sporting director Edu Gaspar has been in "constant contact" with Everton star Amadou Onana’s entourage.

The 21-year-old moved to Merseyside last summer from Lille for a reported £33m including add-ons but with the Toffees flirting with relegation, has not had the chance to showcase what he's truly capable of. 

It's thought that Onana has a bold price of £62m on his head now – and if Everton were to be relegated this summer, the club may have to sell a number of their assets. There's a lot of interest in the Belgian, who could be one of the first out the door. 

West Ham, ironically, were interested in the player, only getting beaten to his signing late on by Everton. He could still be on their radar in a scenario in which they have to sell Rice. 

Amadou Onana of Belgium Looks on during the UEFA Nations League League A Group 4 match between Netherlands and Belgium at Stadium Feijenoord on September 25, 2022 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Amadou Onana is still highly rated despite an average season at Goodison Park (Image credit: Michael Bulder/NESImages/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Arsenal are also said to remain keen Moises Caicedo. Brighton rebuffed their approach towards the end of the transfer window, with Jorginho joining instead. 

Onana is valued at €42m by Transfermarkt

More Arsenal stories

Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus has been linked with a move to Real Madrid, sparking rumours that the Gunners could have to fight to keep their No.9. Manager Mikel Arteta has identified nine players who could leave this summer – while Rasmus Hojlund is a target up front, along with Leeds star Wilfried Gnonto.

Elsewhere, Gabri Veiga has been rumoured to be on Arsenal's radar, as has AC Milan star Brahim Diaz. Declan Rice is thought to be this summer's big target, with Oleksandr Zinchenko sharing a word with him when Ukraine played England, setting tongues wagging. 

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