Premier League runners-up Arsenal have upped the ante in the race to sign Declan Rice from West Ham by placing a bid for the England international believed to be worth £105m, according to transfer guru David Ornstein.
The Gunners’ mammoth offer, which is their third bid for the midfielder, would make Rice the most expensive British player ever. The deal would see West Ham pocket a guaranteed £100m with another £5m in performance-related add-ons.
Rice has been Mikel Arteta and Arsenal’s primary target this summer, though the Londoners have competition for his signature from champions Manchester City.
The transfer tug-of-war between last season’s champions and runners-up for the Three Lions star is a reflection of the anchorman’s quality, but how much is Declan Rice really worth?
Rice to become the most-expensive British player ever?
Arsenal are prepared to splash over £100m on Declan Rice – a fee that threatens to eclipse any previous outlay for a British footballer.
At present, the £100m paid by Manchester City to Aston Villa for Jack Grealish in 2021 is the record transfer for a player from the UK, though Real Madrid’s package to sign Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund this summer could top that investment if certain milestones are reached.
Manchester United parted with £80m to bring Harry Maguire to Old Trafford from Leicester City in 2019, which made the centre-half Britain’s most expensive star for a spell, while United paid a similar amount to wrangle Jadon Sancho away from Dortmund two years later.
When rating those mega-money deals in terms of success, it’s fair to say it’s a bit of a mixed bag, though Arsenal’s resolve to sign Rice remains steadfast.
The Gunners’ current record British signing is Ben White, who moved to North London from Brighton for £50m in 2021.
Why do Arsenal want to sign Rice?
Declan Rice looks certain to leave West Ham this summer having just captained the Irons to their first European trophy in 58 years, though his current employers seem determined to extract every inch of value from their prized asset.
The 24-year-old, who has been capped 41 times by England, played 50 times in all competitions last season, highlighting his superb fitness levels, while Rice’s 2.1 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per game figures in the Premier League in 2022/23 help to underline his incredible ball-winning ability in midfield.
Having already lost Granit Xhaka this summer, Arsenal are rumoured to be on the cusp of losing the Swiss schemer’s foil in the middle Thomas Partey too, and Mikel Arteta has a couple of massive roles to fill in midfield before August.
The acquisition of Declan Rice would help to bridge that gap and at just 24, the tough tackler would represent a top-class, long-term replacement for Partey, who turned 30 in early June.
Rice’s running power and ability to snuff out danger would make him the ideal defensive screen for an attack-minded Arsenal outfit, allowing players like Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus.
Arsenal came close to landing the Premier League title last season before their late collapse and Rice’s arrival could strengthen their bid for silverware in 2023/24.