Arsenal train ahead of Europa League clash with Sporting
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Declan Rice completing a big-money move to Arsenal is becoming more realistic as the summer transfer window edges closer. The Gunners have reportedly identified Rice as their priority summer target after missing out on Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Moises Caicedo in January.
In January, it was claimed that Arsenal were plotting a swoop for Rice at the end of the season as Mikel Arteta vies to bolster his midfield ranks.
The 24-year-old’s contract expires in 2024. And although West Ham have the option to extend it by a further year, he has already rejected three new proposals with eyes on the next step in his career.
The report adds that the Hammers have internally conceded that they must cash in on Rice this summer to recoup a fitting transfer fee.
Two months on, an update from Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth has claimed that Rice to Arsenal is becoming a ‘realistic’ prospect.
On Tuesday, he said: “They [Arsenal] showed that they wanted to strengthen in that area during January when they went in for Moises Caicedo and went in strongly for him.
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“Of course, they didn’t manage to get him, but Declan Rice now appears to be the primary target.
“The noises we’re hearing is that could be a very realistic one to do for Arsenal in the summer.”
Arsenal are said to be optimistic about beating their Premier League rivals to Rice’s signature.
Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United have been heavily linked with the England international in recent years, but West Ham have managed to retain his services.
However, amid a disappointing season with David Moyes’ side pulled into the relegation scrap, his desire for Champions League football looks set to be burning too brightly to contain.
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In December, Rice said: “One hundred per cent, I want to play in the Champions League.
“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.”
Arsenal are on track to be able to offer Champions League football for the first time in half a decade.
The Gunners are 21 points inside the top four, but their primary focus is on delivering a first Premier League title since 2004 with Manchester City breathing down their neck.
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