After Manchester City withdrew from the contest to capture the midfielder, Arsenal and West Ham reached a finalized agreement in principle to buy Declan Rice for £105 million.
🚨 West Ham have just communicated to Arsenal that they’re accepting £100m plus £5m add-ons fee for Declan Rice.
The two clubs remain in talks over deal structure & payment terms — as West Ham want £100m to be paid within 18 months.
Final discussions and then… done deal. pic.twitter.com/khKe5EgeFc
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 28, 2023
On Tuesday night, Arsenal made a third bid of £100 million plus £5 million in add-ons, and by Wednesday evening, only minor structural issues remained to be resolved. Early on Tuesday, City had a £90 million offer rejected and decided against going as high as Arsenal.
After Ilkay Gündogan left for Barcelona on a free transfer, Pep Guardiola picked Rice as Gündogan’s replacement. West Ham insiders had anticipated that City will make a better bid for Rice on Wednesday morning.
In order to increase the price for their captain, West Ham has been holding out for at least £100 million and has taken advantage of City’s interest. Rice will become the most expensive British player once the sum for the England international surpasses the £100 million City paid to get Jack Grealish from Aston Villa two years ago. Although Rice received interest from Chelsea, Manchester United, and Bayern Munich as well, Arsenal has been in the lead since Christmas.
Last week, West Ham rejected a bid from Arsenal for £75 million plus £15 million in add-ons because they objected to the idea of spreading out the guaranteed portion of the payment over five years. West Ham, who used Jude Bellingham’s transfer to Real Madrid for an initial £88.5 million as a benchmark during discussions, accepts the scale of Arsenal’s bid.
Arsenal was in danger of losing out on Mikel Arteta due to City’s proposal. However, it has consistently been reported by reliable sources that Rice wants to join Arsenal. The 24 years old would have preferred to stay in London because he recently became a father and is very close to his family, and coming to an agreement with Arsenal on a long-term contract will not be an issue.
Rice has been made aware of his position within the squad by Arteta, who also aims to create his midfield around him and Kai Havertz, a £65 million acquisition from Chelsea. Havertz has experience playing as a No. 9 for Chelsea, but he will play a deeper position for Arsenal. In addition, Arteta is close to agreeing to a £50 million deal for Jurrin Timber of Ajax, and he also wants Southampton midfielder Roméo Lavia.
Official, confirmed. Kai Havertz joins Arsenal on £65m deal from Chelsea — medical completed over the weekend, he will wear number 29. ⚪️🔴✅ #AFC
First signing sealed. Next one: Declan Rice.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 28, 2023
At the Emirates Stadium, there is a lot of anticipation and optimism that another high-profile signing, Kai Havertz, whose signature was officially confirmed on Wednesday night, will follow in their footsteps. The reason Arsenal is spending more than £60 million for the German is not because they want to replace the player who played for Chelsea last season, but rather because they think they can make him more productive than he ever was at Stamford Bridge.
Clearly, the hiring of Havertz is a vote of confidence in the German. However, it also serves as a further sign of Arsenal’s confidence in Arteta and a testament to the manager’s faith in his own training-field performance. Arteta makes it obvious that he thinks Havertz can succeed where Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter, and Frank Lampard failed.
The growth of Odegaard under Arteta’s direction may be the main cause of this confidence. Havertz, who with Bayer Leverkusen became the youngest player to make 100 appearances in the Bundesliga, was a teen sensation similar to Odegaard. Like Odegaard at Real Madrid, Havertz also experienced some directionlessness after making a significant move to a powerful European power.
Arsenal is aware that if Arteta can assist Havertz reach his potential in the same way that he did with Odegaard, they may have another attacking player who is truly on par with the best in the world. It is important to remember how well regarded Havertz was when he was a child in Germany, where he set a league record for most goals scored by an adolescent.
Even before that, Arsenal’s scouts in Europe were well aware of Havertz’s abilities after noticing him before he made his German senior debut. The timing wasn’t right then, but it is now because Arsenal sees him as a player who can succeed in an offensive midfield role and sees his presence (on a five-year contract) as evidence of their development in recent seasons.
We CANNOT wait to see Kai Havertz back in action 🤩
– 139 matches
– 38 goals
– 30 assists
📺 Werder Bremen v Leverkusen | 7.15pm | BT Sport 1 HDpic.twitter.com/GaN1wjrueg
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 18, 2020
Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey might be sold to Juventus and Bayer Leverkusen, respectively, to make room for Rice. Arsenal is investing significantly in an effort to launch another title assault.
This month’s victory over Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final marked Rice’s final match for West Ham. His request to leave West Ham and play at a higher level has been granted. After being released by Chelsea at the age of 14, Rice joined and quickly rose to become one of their greatest players. Rice, who is known for his skill as a defensive midfielder, will look to Arsenal to help him hone his attacking abilities.
West Ham will look to replace Rice with two central midfielders (Joo Palhinha of Fulham, Denis Zakaria of Juventus, Amadou Onana of Everton, and James Ward-Prowse of Southampton are also of interest) and also want a center-back. They will compete for Harvey Barnes of Leicester alongside Newcastle, Aston Villa, and Tottenham.