Arsenal are reportedly ‘growing confident’ that they will beat the likes of Chelsea and Man Utd to sign Declan Rice from West Ham United this summer.
The Gunners have been in the market for a new midfielder throughout this season. This comes after they failed to sign Douglas Luiz from Aston Villa during last summer’s transfer window.
Arsenal then unsuccessfully attempted to recruit Brighton and Hove Albion’s Moises Caicedo in January.
It has since been reported that Arsenal are turning their attention to Rice, who is set to leave West Ham at the end of this season.
Recent reports have claimed that West Ham are resigned to him going this summer following their decline in the Premier League.
The Hammers are understood to value Rice at around £80m and he is among Arsenal’s main targets ahead of this summer’s window.
The Evening Standard are now reporting that ‘there is growing confidence’ at Arsenal that ‘they can win the race to sign him amid competition from Chelsea and both Manchester clubs’.
Rice is ‘viewed as the ideal addition’ as he ‘suits Arsenal’s recruitment model’. There is an ‘acceptance’ that he will leave West Ham as he ‘has no plans’ to sign a new contract before his current deal expires in 2025.
It is suggested that Arsenal ‘believe their charge towards the title and the lure of Champions League football gives them the edge over rivals for their top transfer target’. The report adds.
‘The Gunners wanted to sign a midfielder in January and Rice was considered, but West Ham insisted he was not for sale at any price and he would have been reluctant to leave the club in the middle of a relegation battle.
‘There has been no direct talk between the clubs since, with Rice focused on keeping West Ham in the Premier League and winning the Europa Conference League, but Arsenal’s hand is stronger now, with the club eight points clear at the top of the Premier League with 10 games to go and Champions League qualification all but secured.
‘That makes the Gunners an attractive project to Rice and they hope it gives them the edge over their rivals, while Arteta’s record in developing young players adds to their pulling power.
‘Chelsea are admirers of Rice and it has long been thought he would return to his boyhood club after being released by their academy at the age of 14. The midfielder also enjoys a close relationship with Mason Mount.
‘Chelsea, however, are unlikely to qualify for the Champions League and Mount’s future is uncertain at Stamford Bridge.’
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