Arsenal ‘ready to launch huge bid for £88m-rated Declan Rice’ as they look to beat Chelsea and Man Utd to West Ham star

ARSENAL are ready to launch a shock bid for Declan Rice, according to reports.

The Gunners sit eight points clear at the top of the Premier League as they chase their first league title in 19 years.

Declan Rice is a transfer target for Arsenal in the summerCredit: AFP

But Mikel Arteta is keen to strengthen his squad in January with Mykhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

However, Spanish outlet Fichajes report the Emirates boss wants his board to sanction a big-money move for Rice in the summer.

West Ham captain Rice, 23, is rated at around £88million and his club have previously refused to let him leave despite plenty of interest.

But he has rejected a new contract and alerted potential suitors at the World Cup when he publicly expressed his desire to be at a club competing for trophies and in the Champions League.

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And Arsenal could offer that with Arteta spearheading the exciting revival in North London.

Manchester United and Chelsea are also long-term admirers of Rice.

But with both teams, especially the Blues, off the pace set by Arsenal in the Premier League, their top-four ambitions are far from guaranteed.

So that could help Arsenal win the race for the former Chelsea academy player’s signature, who is said to be keen to stay in the capital.

An extra holding midfielder is a key priority for Arsenal – with Albert Sambi Lokonga well short of the quality Thomas Partey boasts as the single pivot in the 4-3-3 formation.

Therefore the addition of Rice – one of the best defensive midfielders in the country – would be a major boost.

The 39-cap England star has made 218 West Ham appearances after graduating from the academy.

But he has struggled to find his best form for the Hammers this season with David Moyes’ side only out of the relegation zone by one goal.

Rice hit back at criticism that he had one eye on a transfer away by stating he would never “give up”.

The midfielder said: “Keep reading little comments like these that are, 1. Funny & 2. Complete nonsense.

“I would never ever give up, for the fans or for the club.

“Of course things on a football pitch get tough! But especially as captain and wearing this shirt, I know exactly what it means to play for West Ham.”

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Moyes also defended his skipper and added last week: “People can have their opinions, but Declan played fantastically well in midweek and he has done for nearly all the time I’ve been here.

“He’s tried to drive us on and he did everything he could in midweek. I don’t see it.”


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