Mikel Arteta key reason why Arsenal now lead Declan Rice transfer race - but Chelsea and Man Utd could provide competition

Mikel Arteta Declan Rice splitGetty/GOAL
  • West Ham resigned to losing Rice
  • Chelsea and Man Utd in the mix
  • But Arteta and Arsenal most appealing project

WHAT HAPPENED? According to the Evening Standard, Rice remains the Gunners' prime transfer target, with the club expected to back Arteta again in the coming window. Tactically, the West Ham midfielder would plug a crucial gap in Arsenal's midfield, either in a holding role or slightly further forward as a No.8. Beyond his footballing qualities, Arteta is thought to be a big admirer of the England star's work ethic and leadership qualities, while at 24 he also lines up with the club's current recruitment model.

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: It is the player's opinion on Arteta that the Evening Standard writes could be crucial. The Gunners' boss has a proven record of developing young players, most notably Rice's England team-mate Bukayo Saka. This, as well as their placing eight points clear at the top of the Premier League with 10 games to go, has made Arsenal confident of landing their man.

AND WHAT'S MORE: Beyond Arteta, the project of the north London club is thought to line up with Rice's ambitions. Former club Chelsea, who are long-term admirers of the player, will likely be unable to offer him Champions League football, as they face a summer of midfield outgoings including that of long-term friend Mason Mount. Manchester United meanwhile, are also in the mix, while West Ham appear resigned to losing their captain and will reportedly try and ask for up to £150 million ($185m) for him.


Declan Rice West Ham 2022-23 16:9GettySaka Rice England 2023Getty ImagesDeclan Rice Mikel Arteta 2022-23Getty Images

WHAT NEXT FOR RICE? After getting a goal while on international duty with England, the Hammers captain will lead his side out in their unwanted relegation battle, which gets back underway on Sunday at home to bottom club Southampton.

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