Arsenal have ‘internally’ discussed making a move which would see West Ham United star Declan Rice head to the Emirates Stadium, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has told GiveMeSport.
Mikel Arteta could welcome reinforcements into his Gunners squad ahead of the winter window slamming shut at the end of the month.
Arsenal transfer news – Declan Rice
According to The Times, Arsenal have identified Rice as their top target ahead of the summer and the north Londoners are growing in confidence that they will rubber-stamp a deal worth close to £80million.
The report suggests the Gunners are optimistic that they can beat the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United to the England international’s services due to their status as the current Premier League leaders.
Respected journalist Rudy Galetti recently told GiveMeSport that Arsenal have already made contact over a potential move for Rice as they look to move into pole position.
The central midfielder has indicated he is keen to leave West Ham as he is desperate to fight for trophies and to compete in the Champions League.
Rice’s £62,000-per-week contract is due to expire in the summer of 2024, although his current employers have an option to extend the agreement by a further 12 months.
What has Fabrizio Romano said about Rice?
Romano understands that Arsenal have held behind-the-scenes discussions over making a swoop for Rice.
The journalist is aware the West Ham captain is admired by the Premier League table-toppers and he has worked his way onto their radar.
Romano told GiveMeSport: “From what I’m told, they discussed about that internally.
“They spoke about Declan Rice as a player they really like so, in these conversations they had in the last few weeks, he is a name they mentioned.”
What would Rice add to Arsenal’s squad?
Rice would certainly make Arsenal more difficult for opponents to break down as, according to FBref, he has averaged more tackles, blocks and interceptions per 90 minutes than Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey this season.
That is no mean feat, while the statistics show he boasts a better pass completion ratio, emphasising that the Gunners could also become even more deadly when in possession.
Rice’s productivity in the final third of the pitch should not be overlooked as Sofascore data indicates he averages 1.3 key passes and the same number of shots per Premier League outing.
The 24-year-old was a key member of the England squad which reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup at the back-end of last year, while he has also shone despite West Ham’s struggles this term.
Rice has been handed a 6.91 average match rating by WhoScored, making him the Hammers’ top performer, and Arsenal would certainly benefit from his presence in the heart of their midfield.