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Arsenal must avoid Mudryk repeat with Declan Rice

Arsenal have reportedly made Declan Rice a top transfer target for the summer…

What’s the word?

That’s according to The Times, who claim that the Gunners are ‘growing in confidence’ that they can beat London rivals Chelsea to the West Ham United captain’s signature.

The England regular could be subject to a bidding war, with Manchester United also thought to be keeping tabs on the situation, whilst it’s believed that the Irons will have to sell their star man as his £60k-per-week contract expires in 2024.

With the box-to-box sensation seemingly unwilling to extend his current deal at the London Stadium, he could be available for around £80m.

Should Arsenal break the bank for Rice?

YES!

YES!

NO!

NO!

Mudryk repeat?

If these claims are true, then the Arsenal hierarchy must ensure that there isn’t a repeat of the Mykhaylo Mudryk saga, with the Ukraine wonderkid eventually making his way to Stamford Bridge, despite months of speculation linking him to north London.

It’s well-known that the Blues are keen to bring Rice back to the club where he was contracted as an academy starlet. Back in December 2020, The Athletic’s David Ornstein claimed: “Rice to Chelsea is starting to feel a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if.'”

This should put Gunners ownership, KSE, on guard heading into the summer as Rice and Chelsea are regularly in the headlines each and every transfer window, and that won’t aid their pursuit one bit.

They cannot afford to watch another priority target make his way down the Thames once again as Rice fits everything that’s right about manager Mikel Arteta, his squad and the ongoing project at the club.

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As a young and homegrown international, the 24-year-old would need little time in adapting at London Colney, given he’s played or trained with Bukayo Saka, Benjamin White and Aaron Ramsdale in recent times, as well as the fact that he’s a proven top-flight talent and one that has displayed leadership beyond his years.

Arteta’s engine room, whilst settled and performing, is very threadbare as there is little quality behind first-choice duo Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka, so mixing Rice into the equation could really elevate the Gunners to “another level” – as previously suggested by ex-footballer Paul Parker – for the foreseeable future.

The “absolute monster” – as once described by ESPNUK’s David Cartlidge – is among the top 5% of all midfielders across Europe’s elite five divisions for pass completion, as well as the top 7% for interceptions per 90, via FBref, merely highlighting the world-class level that he has been performing at in a struggling Hammers side – where he also currently ranks as their best performer in the Premier League.

As such, KSE and sporting director Edu Gaspar must start working on this deal before the summer, in a bid to avoid another embarrassing repeat in the transfer market.

League-leading Arsenal cannot afford to lose another player to a rival, let alone one struggling to compete for a place in Europe.

AND in other news, LaLiga star now tipped as possible Mykhailo Mudryk alternative…