Friday, December 8, 2023

Why Declan Rice ‘favours’ Arsenal transfer over Chelsea and it’s not just the Champions League

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Arsenal have been boosted in their summer pursuit of West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice, if recent reports are to be believed.

It seems likely that Rice will leave the Hammers at the end of the current campaign, with the player making it no secret of his desire to play in the UEFA Champions League sooner rather than later. When quizzed on whether playing at the 2022 World Cup had given him the hunger to play in Europe’s top competition, the England international said: “Yeah, 100 per cent.

“For the last two or three years I have been saying that. I have been playing consistently well for [my] club and I feel like I really want to keep pushing.

“I see my friends here who are playing in the Champions League and for big trophies… you only get one career and at the end of your career you want to look back at what you have won and the biggest games you have played in. I am really ambitious.”

For a long time it seemed a foregone conclusion that the 24-year-old would be heading to Chelsea, where he previously played during his younger days before being released at the age of 14. However, the Blues currently find themselves 10th in the Premier League table, with the prospect of a top-four finish seeming somewhat unlikely unless there is a major upturn in form soon.

That could leave Arsenal as the frontrunners in the race to sign the tough-tackling midfielder and The Guardian have now reported that the player is leaning towards a move to the Emirates Stadium because of the prospect of playing for Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.

The north Londoners are said to have made Rice their primary summer target, with the West Ham captain seen as the perfect candidate to challenge first-choice holding midfielder Thomas Partey and box-to-box maestro Granit Xhaka.

The idea of working under Arteta appeals to Rice, who is likely to cost upwards of £80 million, and the Spaniard has done a stellar job this season, guiding his side to the top of the table, five points ahead of second-placed Manchester City, who have played a game more than their title rivals.

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