With manager Mikel Arteta seeing his impressive Arsenal side fall just short in their largely unexpected title tilt against Manchester City in the 2022/23 Premier League campaign, it was inevitable that he would be looking to strengthen the squad further this summer with the hope of challenging once again in the coming domestic campaign, and progressing well in the Champions League.
As the last campaign drew to an end, speculation about our interest in West Ham United skipper and England midfielder Declan Rice hit fever pitch and we were quickly installed as the hot favourites for his capture in the media. We have already previously submitted an offer for the 24 year old, 41 capped player, and it was suggested we were prepared to pay as much as £90 million for him, but spread over four payments. West Ham rejected this, and despite going back with an improved offer this week, we have again been knocked back.
It remains to be seen if we sweeten the deal further, but although Rice only has 12 months left on his existing contract, West Ham can play hard ball a touch owing to a 12 month option they hold over his head, so negotiations certainly will not be straight forward.
With David Sullivan already stating that he was “99%” sure that the player would be departing in the coming weeks, it does feel like it is simply a matter of time before a deal is struck as that is already a phenomenal fee and there are bound to be fans out there who will already feel it is way too high, even for a player of Rice’s calibre.
It certainly feels like it will be a busy few weeks for Arsenal though given all the other speculation that we are seeing in the press about potential new targets to improve Arteta’s options further, and given how close we did ultimately come to lifting the Premier League trophy once again, it is not beyond the realms of possibilities that we could see four or five new arrivals and fresh faces come in ahead of the new 2023/24 campaign kicking off for real.
Image from: unsplash.com