Arsenal ‘submit British-record £105m bid for West Ham United’s Declan Rice’

Arsenal have reportedly submitted an improved bid worth up to £105m for West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice.

Mikel Arteta has identified the 24-year-old as his primary target this summer, and the Gunners are understood to have already seen two bids rejected for the England international.

The second offer tabled by the North Londoners was a club-record proposal worth up to £90m, including £75m upfront plus £15m in add-ons paid across a four to five-year period, but that bid was swiftly turned down by West Ham.

The Hammers have been preparing themselves to receive a third offer from Arsenal for Rice, who is understood to have earmarked the Emirates Stadium as his preferred destination.

Arsenal have since been joined in the race for Rice’s signature by treble winners Manchester City, though, who have allegedly seen an opening offer of £80m plus £10m in add-ons rejected by West Ham.In the hope of fending off competition from Pep Guardiola’s side, The Athletic reports that the Gunners have now tabled an improved offer for Rice worth an initial £100m plus £5m in add-ons.

A deal totalling to £105m would not only eclipse the club-record £72m spend by Arsenal on Nicolas Pepe in 2019, but it would also represent a record fee for a British player, exceeding the £100m forked out by Man City on Jack Grealish in 2021.

Although Rice has just a year remaining on his contract at the London Stadium, West Ham are said to value their star man between £100m and £120m.

Rice, who began his youth career with Chelsea, has spent his entire professional career with West Ham, contributing with 15 goals and 13 assists in 254 appearances across all competitions since his debut in 2017.

The Englishman, who is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League, ended the 2022-23 campaign on a historic high as he successfully led West Ham to Europa Conference League glory – the club’s first European silverware for 58 years.

However, Rice is now keen to fulfil his dream of playing in the Champions League, and West Ham chairman David Sullivan has confirmed that Englishman will be allowed to leave the club for the right price this summer.

Arteta is seemingly being heavily backed by the Arsenal hierarchy this summer, with Rice one a number of big-money targets on the club’s radar as they endeavour to challenge Man City once again for the Premier League title in 2023-24.

Indeed, the Gunners are reportedly on the brink of unveiling Chelsea forward Kai Havertz as a new summer signing, with the German said to have completed the first part of his medical ahead of a £65m transfer to the Emirates.

Arsenal are also understood to have a ‘verbal agreements’ in place with Ajax defender Jurrien Timber and Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia, and have allegedly tabled a second bid for the former worth between €45m (£38.5m) and €48m (£41m).