Arsenal set for talks with West Ham over signing Declan Rice for £90m

Arsenal are ready to offer West Ham £90MILLION to sign Declan Rice this summer – with the Gunners preparing a £300,000-a-week deal to land the Hammers captain as they look to offload Granit Xhaka and mount another title push

  • Arsenal are set to open talks with West Ham over a £90m swoop for Declan Rice
  • He is their priority target and are willing to break their transfer record to get him 
  • Mail Sport also understands the club will loosen constraints on their wage bill

Arsenal are set to open talks with West Ham over a £90million swoop for Declan Rice as Emirates chiefs prepare to loosen the purse strings ahead of their Champions League return this summer.

In addition to making major funds available to Mikel Arteta to strengthen his squad, Mail Sport understands the club will loosen constraints on their wage bill to ensure the team can attract sufficient talent to maintain their current status as genuine Premier League title contenders.

Arsenal will look to offset their anticipated spend by selling a number of players – with Granit Xhaka among the players in line to depart.

England midfielder Rice is the club’s priority target and Arsenal are willing to break their transfer record – which is currently at £72million for the signing of Nicolas Pepe in 2019 – to sign the West Ham star.

Intriguingly, however, there is a reluctance to match West Ham’s £100million valuation for Rice, though sources have indicated that the Gunners would be willing to offer the midfielder a contract that would see his potential earnings exceed £300,000-per-week.

Arsenal are set to open talks with West Ham over a £90million summer swoop for Declan Rice

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is set to be backed in the summer window to strengthen his squad

Bukayo Saka’s pending new contract, which will be announced soon, will also be worth towards the £300,000-per-week mark.

Indeed, there is an understanding at Arsenal that their wage bill will inflate over the summer as Arteta targets players with more physicality amid concerns his team lacked strength and power during crucial moments of the season. Rice fits the profile of player Arteta wants to add to his squad.

The Gunners have been careful in balancing their wage bill in recent seasons following the significant financial strain big contracts for the likes of Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had on the club’s accounts.

But the quality of player Arteta wants to sign will not come cheaply in terms of transfer fees and wages, with the club prepared to back their head coach financially.

In addition to Rice, Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi and Bayer Leverkusen attacker Moussa Diaby are among the players on the Gunners’ radar.

A planned sale of a number of fringe players, plus increased revenue from their qualification for the Champions League, will help aid their plans for a summer rebuild.

Bundesliga side Leverkusen’s interest in Xhaka could help facilitate a move for Diaby.

It is understood initial contact between both clubs for the Switzerland international, who has played a key role for Arsenal this season, has taken place but no final agreement is in place.

Arsenal will look to sell a number of players – with Granit Xhaka among those in line to depart

Meanwhile, Newcastle are admirers of Kieran Tierney, who has struggled for starts this season following the arrival of Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Young striker Folarin Balogun is expected to leave. The 21-year-old has been linked with a £30million move amid interest from clubs such as AC Milan, having shone on loan at Ligue 1 side Stade de Reims this season.

Balogun is keen not to return to the fringes at Arsenal, while Emile Smith Rowe and Rob Holding have been short of playing opportunities this season.

Reiss Nelson has also rejected a new contract and is set to leave when his contract expires next month.

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