Arsenal are confident the club can win the race to sign Declan Rice after making the West Ham captain their number one transfer target.
Rice is expected to leave West Ham this summer after expressing his desire for Champions League football and the England midfielder is viewed as an ideal target for Mikel Arteta’s improving side.
Arsenal are eight points clear at the top of the Premier League and chasing a first league title in 2003/04, with the Gunners keen to build on an impressive season with the addition of a midfielder this summer.
Rice – who has won 41 caps for England and at 24 is the Premier League’s youngest captain – has been made Arsenal’s leading target and the Gunners made an initial enquiry in January.
West Ham turned down that approach amid the club’s relegation battle and pursuit of the Europa Conference League, but there is an acceptance that Rice will leave this summer after turning down multiple proposals for a new contract at the London Stadium.
The Evening Standard are reporting that Arsenal are optimistic of winning the race for Rice, ahead of potential interest from Chelsea and both Manchester clubs.
Chelsea have a long-standing interest in Rice – who supported the Blues as a child and was released from the club’s academy aged 14 – but now appear a less attractive option with the west Londoners expected to miss out on Champions League qualification.
West Ham have insisted it will take a record fee to sign Rice this summer, with David Moyes having said any bid would need to blow the British transfer record ‘out of the water’.
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