In a stunning turn of events, Arsenal Football Club has made a groundbreaking move by submitting a third bid worth a staggering £105 million for West Ham United’s talented midfielder, Declan Rice.
If the bid is accepted, it would not only make Rice the most expensive British player ever but also shatter Arsenal’s transfer record previously set by the £72 million acquisition of Nicolas Pepe from Lille in 2019.
The proposed deal comprises an initial fee of £100 million, with an additional £5 million in performance-related add-ons. Rice has emerged as Arsenal’s primary target this summer, and the Gunners have been relentless in their pursuit of the England international, who has expressed a preference for a move to North London.
Earlier reports indicated that Premier League champions Manchester City had offered £80 million upfront, along with £10 million in add-ons, for Rice. However, West Ham swiftly rejected the bid as it fell short of their valuation. Arsenal had also seen their club-record bid of £90 million, consisting of a £75 million fee and £15 million in add-ons, turned down by their London rivals earlier in the month.
The question now arises: Will West Ham accept Arsenal’s latest offer? While West Ham values Rice at £120 million, there are indications that the club may be willing to entertain an offer of £100 million plus the inclusion of a player.
Negotiations between Arsenal and West Ham are expected to focus on the structure of the record-breaking deal for Rice. The Hammers are reportedly seeking a shorter time frame for the payment of the guaranteed fee, while the total amount of £105 million is not expected to pose an issue.
Rice, who captained West Ham to their first European trophy in 58 years, has made it clear that he intends to leave the club during the current transfer window. Despite having one year remaining on his contract, Rice has a gentleman’s agreement with West Ham chairman David Sullivan that allows him to depart, with an option to extend his contract for an additional 12 months.
Having joined West Ham’s academy from Chelsea as a teenager, Rice has been a mainstay in the team since his breakout season in 2017-18. He took over the captaincy following Mark Noble’s retirement last year.
The 24-year-old featured in 50 matches across all competitions last season as West Ham secured a 14th-place finish in the Premier League and clinched the Europa Conference League title in Prague. With over 200 appearances for the Hammers and 41 caps for England since his international debut in 2019, Rice has established himself as one of the most promising midfield talents in English football.