Arsenal have been handed a boost in their bid to bring Declan Rice to The Emirates next summer.
That’s according to Matt Law, with The Telegraph journalist revealing in recent comments made on the London Is Blue podcast that, following recent reports linking the Gunners with a move for the central midfielder, West Ham United are now willing to part with the 23-year-old for a figure in the region of £70m next summer – considerably less than his previous £150m price tag.
However, Mikel Arteta’s side are not the only club in pursuit of the World Cup star, with Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United all having been linked with a move for the Hammers’ academy graduate in recent months.
Considering the fact that Rice is quickly establishing himself as “one of the world’s best midfielders” – in the words of Thilo Kehrer – coupled with the middle of the park undoubtedly being the area of Arteta’s squad that is lacking the most depth at present, it is not difficult to see why the Spaniard would be keen on a move for the West Ham talisman at the end of the season.
Indeed, over his 15 Premier League fixtures so far this season, the £69m-rated talent has been in breathtaking form for David Moyes’ side, having scored one goal, provided two assists and created two big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 1.2 shots, making 1.3 key passes and completing 0.5 dribbles per game.
The £60k-per-week midfielder has also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of 2.4 tackles, 1.6 interceptions, 55.5 passes – at a success rate of 90% – 1.3 clearances and winning 4.2 duels – at a success rate of 61% – per match.
These returns have seen the England star average a quite astonishing SofaScore match rating of 7.27, not only ranking him as the Irons’ best performer in the league but also as the joint 16th-best player in the top flight of English football as a whole.
Furthermore, ex-Arsenal centre-forward Kevin Campbell clearly believes that the 23-year-old would make a perfect addition to Arteta’s title hopefuls, with the 52-year-old suggesting he would buy Rice ahead of another of the Gunners’ rumoured targets, Jude Bellingham, on a recent episode of The Highbury Squad YouTube show:
“If you are going to pay £100m, who would you buy? Would you buy [Jude] Bellingham or would you buy Rice? I’d buy Rice. All day long. Bellingham is good and he is younger.
“But the game Rice has is perfect for what we have or what we are going to need. I am thinking he is a natural successor to Thomas Partey, who does things in a different way, but he can control a game himself, like Bellingham.
“But if it was £100m and I had to pick one, then I would pick Rice. I think we have other players there who can do what Bellingham does for us, but there aren’t many that can do what Rice can do.”
As such, the news that Rice is now available for just £70m next summer will undoubtedly come as a huge boost to Arsenal, as the world-class midfielder would indeed appear to represent a perfect addition to Arteta’s current options in the middle of the park.