West Ham star Declan Rice has been tipped to join Arsenal in the summer by a former Premier League striker.
Reports emerged on Monday from The Times that the Gunners have made Rice their ‘top target’ in the summer, and could potentially sign the midfielder for a fee of £80 million, which would break their transfer record.
Rice has been one of the top Premier League players in his role for a number of seasons, and has played European football for West Ham in each of the last two campaigns.
The Hammers are in the Europa Conference League knockout stages, but look unlikely to qualify for Europe for a third consecutive season via league position. David Moyes’s side are currently in the relegation zone in 18th place, having picked up 15 points from their 19 games thus far.
A move to the Emirates Stadium would, almost certainly, present the 24-year-old with the opportunity to play Champions League football next season for what would be the first time in his career.
The Times also claim that Mikel Arteta’s side are confident of beating Chelsea to this particular signature, having lost out to the Blues on deals for Mykhailo Mudryk and Joao Felix this month.
And Rice has been tipped to move to north London by one pundit.
Rice tipped to join Arsenal
Speaking to Football Insider, former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor spoke highly of the England international, and believes he will likely end up at Arsenal next season if the Gunners make a move for the midfielder.
He explained: “If he is to leave West Ham, he’ll choose a club in the Champions League. Arsenal are a club that need extra competition in [Rice’s] position, so I think that move will suit all parties.
“I think if you offered him the chance, he would join Arsenal right now. They’re going places. They’re 1000 per cent going to finish in the Champions League places, at least.
“But I think he’ll wait until the end of the season. It comes down to the price, and whether a team like Liverpool can sneak into the top four.”
Speaking prior to West Ham’s 3-1 defeat to Arsenal on Boxing Day, Moyes told The Times that the Hammers were ‘not just going to roll over and let Dec walk out of the building’.
Therefore, Arsenal may have to do plenty of work to get this deal done and secure a player of Rice’s quality and potential.