Report: Arsenal make West Ham's Rice top summer target
Arsenal could be set to break their transfer record to sign West Ham United captain Declan Rice this summer.
The England international will be Arsenal's top at the end of the season, but the Gunners will likely face competition from Premier League rivals to sign Rice, according to Nick Ames and Jacob Steinberg of the Guardian.
Arsenal are understood to be willing to exceed the £72 million spent on club-record signing Nicolas Pepe in 2019 to ensure they come out on top in their pursuit of the talented 24-year-old.
Optimism over a potential deal materializing in the coming months is boosted by Rice's enthusiasm over moving from east to north London, Ames and Steinberg add. The West Ham captain is said to be open to joining the Gunners and has been "made aware" of the role he'll play within Mikel Arteta's team.
Rice's preference to join Arsenal is also reportedly buoyed by the club's imminent return to the Champions League next season. With the Gunners enjoying an eight-point cushion atop the Premier League, it's just a matter of time before the club secures a spot back in the Champions League for the first time since 2017.
Chelsea have been linked with Rice in previous transfer windows and look set to renew their interest this summer, Ames and Steinberg report.
The Blues and Arsenal have competed against each other for various players on the market over the years, with Chelsea most recently beating Arsenal to sign highly rated Ukrainian winger Mykhaylo Mudryk.
Manchester United are another Premier League rival that could launch a pursuit as well.