Arsenal will step up their bid to sign Declan Rice in the coming days after West Ham’s season ended with victory in the Europa Conference League final.
Rice is the club’s leading transfer target for the summer window and Arsenal will push ahead with a bid to sign the England midfielder, having been respectful of the 24-year-old’s involvement in West Ham’s successful European campaign.
Rice captained the Irons to a first major trophy since 1980 after David Moyes’ side beat Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final and acknowledged the speculation surrounding his future during the post-match celebrations.
West Ham chairman David Sullivan has since confirmed the club have a gentleman’s agreement to sell the midfielder this summer, should a suitable offer arrive.
“I think it has to be. We promised him he could go,” Sullivan told talkSPORT on whether the final would be Rice’s last appearance for West Ham.
“He set his heart on going and in due course he has to get on and we have to get a replacement.”
The Telegraph are reporting that Arsenal want to sign Rice in time for the start of pre-season and have been working on the structure of a deal worth around £92m. The deal will set a new transfer record for Arsenal and will pave the way for Granit Xhaka to complete a move to Bayer Leverkusen.
West Ham chairman Sullivan said that there are ‘three or four clubs who have shown interest’ in Rice and Arsenal could face competition from Bayern Munich and Manchester United, but appear the front runners having laid the groundwork for a club-record deal. The Gunners can offer the midfielder Champions League football and the chance to remain in London.