Arsenal are reportedly ‘growing increasingly confident’ that they will be able to sign West Ham star Declan Rice ahead of Chelsea and Newcastle.
The Gunners have been enjoying a brilliant season as they are currently at the top of the Premier League.
Mikel Arteta’s side are feeling the pressure of the title race, though. They have drawn three games in a row and last time out they put in a worrying display to drop points in a 3-3 thriller against Southampton.
Arsenal do not have as strong a squad as Man City. The Londoners will have to strengthen this summer if they are going to maintain their position around the top of the Premier League.
One of Arsenal’s priorities is to sign a new centre-midfielder who can compete with Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka.
They attempted to sign Moises Caicedo from Brighton in January but recent reports have indicated that they are turning their attention to Rice, who is expected to leave West Ham this summer.
The Englishman has been one of the standout midfielders in the Premier League over the past couple of seasons and he has now openly admitted that he is keen to play in the Champions League.
“100 per cent I want to play in the Champions League,” Rice admitted.
“I’ve been playing consistently well for my club and I feel like I really want to keep pushing.
“I see my friends here, who are playing Champions League and for big trophies.
“You only get one career and at the end, you want to look back at what you’ve won and the biggest games you’ve played in.”
Football Insider are reporting that Arsenal are in ‘pole position to sign Rice’ and they are ‘growing increasingly confident in their chances of signing the 24-year-old midfielder this summer’.
READ MORE: Granit Xhaka must be the first casualty at Arsenal as Arteta seeks Guardiola ‘evolution’
Chelsea have been considered ‘long-term favourites’ to sign Rice but they are ‘tied down by financial limitations’ with them spending around £500m on signings this season. Newcastle United meanwhile have ‘halted their pursuit’ of the midfielder.
The report adds: ‘With Chelsea and Newcastle both not willing to meet West Ham’s valuation, Arsenal have leapfrogged their rivals to become strong favourites to sign the England international.
‘It is understood that Rice would prefer to stay in London, and Arsenal are now the only team in the capital still pushing hard to sign him.’
Earlier this month, journalist Dean Jones told Give Me Sport that Rice is “very interested” in signing for Arsenal.
“He’s very interested in joining Arsenal. Chats with the manager and the captain are good PR for him, and it’s good for him to start relationship building ahead of the talks that will happen in the summer.”
READ MORE: Arsenal show fight in dramatic Southampton draw but also prove title pressure is too much
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