Arsenal are reportedly pursuing West Ham United’s 24-year-old midfielder, Declan Rice, in a bid to bolster their squad ahead of next season.
Widely regarded as one of the Premier League’s best midfielders, Rice has been on Arsenal’s radar for some time, with reports emerging back in January that he was Mikel Arteta’s top transfer target for this summer.
The Englishman’s contract with West Ham expires next summer, and with negotiations reportedly stalled, it seems almost inevitable that Rice will be on the move. Arsenal have made it clear that he is their priority target, and Gooners everywhere are hoping that the club can pull off a deal to bring him to the Emirates Stadium.
Rice was in attendance at the Emirates Stadium last night, watching the FA Youth Cup final between Jack Wilshere’s Arsenal U18s and West Ham United. While Arsenal fans were no doubt delighted to see him there, they were left disappointed as their team were soundly beaten by the Hammers.
Rice’s presence at the Emirates will only fuel speculation that he is on the verge of signing for Arsenal, and fans of the North London club will be hoping that his visit was more than just a coincidence.
There is no doubt that Rice would be a huge addition to the Arsenal squad, and his arrival would go some way to addressing the midfield issues that have plagued the club this season.
Thomas Partey, who joined Arsenal from Atletico Madrid last summer, has struggled with injury problems throughout the campaign, and the Gunners have lacked a reliable midfield partner for him.
Rice’s ability to play in a number of different positions in midfield would make him a valuable asset for Arteta, and there is no doubt that he would be a regular starter for the team.
Of course, signing Rice will not be easy, and Arsenal will face stiff competition for his signature. The midfielder has been linked with a number of top clubs in recent months, including Manchester United and Chelsea, and it is likely that there will be a bidding war for his services this summer.
However, Arsenal have one advantage in the race for Rice – the player himself is said to be a lifelong Gunners fan, and it is believed that he would relish the opportunity to play for the club. Whether that will be enough to persuade him to join remains to be seen, but Arsenal will certainly be hoping that it is.
Overall, it is clear that Arsenal need to strengthen their midfield this summer, and Rice would be an excellent addition to the squad. His ability to control games from the centre of the park would make him an instant fan favourite at the Emirates, and his arrival would give the team a real boost ahead of next season.
Whether Arsenal can pull off a deal for Rice remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure – the Gunners faithful will be hoping that they can get their man. With a player of Rice’s quality in the team, Arsenal would be a force to be reckoned with in the Premier League next season, and fans of the club will be hoping that the board can make it happen.