Sign up to the free Arsenal newsletter so you don’t miss the latest Gunners news, straight to your inbox
West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice has been heavily linked with a summer transfer to both Arsenal and Chelsea in recent times.
It had seemed a foregone conclusion for a long time that Rice would be joining the Blues when he eventually did decide to leave the Hammers, having played for the west Londoners during his formative years before he was eventually released aged 14. However, The Guardian reported last week that the England international actually prefers a move to the Emirates Stadium, with the prospect of playing under Gunners manager Mikel Arteta thought to be a major reason as to why.
Now, Spanish outlet Nacional, via Football365, have claimed that Rice has rebuffed interest from Real Madrid, telling the La Liga giants that he has already given ‘his word’ to Arsenal regarding a summer move. It is also said that the 24-year-old, who is now into the final 18 months of his contract with West Ham, will become the Gunners’ most expensive signing in their history, with a deal likely to cost more than the £72 million they paid for Nicolas Pepe back in the summer of 2019.
Rice has previously made it no secret of his desire to play in the UEFA Champions League sooner rather than later and Arteta’s side certainly are well on their way to qualifying for Europe’s prestige competition, currently sitting top of the Premier League table after 19 games played. “One hundred per cent I want to play in the Champions League,” he said last month.
“For the last two or three years I’ve been saying that. I’ve been playing consistently well for my club and I feel like I really want to keep pushing.
“I see my friends here who are playing Champions League and for big trophies. You only get one career and at the end, you want to look back at what you’ve won and the biggest games you’ve played in.”