Arsenal are set to bid £92 million for West Ham United captain Declan Rice, with Hammers chairman David Sullivan admitting that the midfielder will leave this summer.
Rice lifted West Ham's first major trophy since 1980 last night as the East Londoners beat Fiorentina 2-1 with a dramatic late goal to lift the Europa Conference League. The final in Prague may have been the star's final-ever game in a Hammers shirt, however, with rumours that he could be bound for north London or beyond.
After the game, chairman David Sullivan confirmed that their skipper would be departing the club after 245 appearances and that West Ham's attempts at keeping Rice at the London Stadium with a new contract have been unsuccessful.
"I think it has to be," Sullivan told talkSPORT when asked if the final was Rice's final appearance for the Hammers. "We promised him he could go. He set his heart on going.
"You can't ask for a man who has committed more to us this season. In due course, he has to get on and we have to get a replacement – or several replacements. It's not something we want to happen. We offered him [a] £200,000-a-week [contract] 18 months ago. He turned it down.
"It's cost him £10m to stay at West Ham in that time (in lost wages). And he wants to go. You can't keep a player who doesn't want to be there."
The Telegraph meanwhile have reported that Arsenal are prepared to shell out £92m to sign the England international this summer ahead of rivals Manchester United and Bayern Munich, who also covet his signature.
This would smash the Gunners' previous record, held by Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe who cost £72m and looks set to leave the club this summer following a season on loan at Nice in Ligue 1.
Rice is valued at €80m by Transfermarkt.
More Arsenal stories
Moises Caicedo is heavily linked, Xavi Simons is on the radar, Ivan Fresneda could join and Ilkay Gundogan is wanted, too. Arsenal could sell £100m worth of players, too – with William Saliba, Martin Odegaard and Thomas Partey all wanted by clubs overseas.
Jay Bothroyd, meanwhile, has told FFT that the Gunners perhaps surprisingly, should be in the market for a striker.
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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.