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Declan Rice's Arsenal comments resurface as the Gunners make West Ham star their 'top target'

Declan Rice's Arsenal comments resurface as the Gunners make West Ham star their 'top target'

Mikel Arteta has identified his next target.

Arsenal are keen to sign West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, according to reports.

The 24-year-old is thought to be Mikel Arteta's main target following the news that the Spaniard's original priority Mykhailo Mudryk has joined Chelsea.

Rice is likely to stay with West Ham until the end of the season. Although, he has rejected their last three contract offers, making it clear his desire to leave. And there's a whole host of Premier League clubs eager to snap him up.

Arsenal are rumoured to be in the market for a central midfielder, winger and left-sided centre-back, with Arteta having to rely on a core group of players so far this season.

However, Chelsea have had a long-standing interest in Rice, meaning another potential transfer battle between the two clubs could be on the cards, following the conclusion of the Mudryk saga.

The Blues have been heavily linked to Rice in seasons gone by due to his experience in their academy and the fact he supports them. His good friend Mason Mount is also thought to be a pull, and could play to Graham Potter's advantage.

However, Gunners' fans are hopeful that the comments made after their 3-1 win over the Hammers on Boxing Day could indicate that Rice would be tempted by a move to the Emirates.

Rice: Arsenal are a top team

In his post match press conference after the defeat to Arsenal, Rice was quick to praise the Premier League leaders.

"I think they’re a top team, you can see they're coached incredibly well, the attacking talent, it’s a young squad, they could go the whole way for sure. They’re a good team," he said.

"We tried to stop them first half but it’s really hard. In the end, we come up short and it’s frustrating."

On current form, Arsenal are an attractive choice, leading the Premier League title race by eight points. Meanwhile, Chelsea sit 10 points off the Champions League places, and a further 19 off the Gunners.

However, the West London club have proved already this season that they are willing to spend big in order to get what they want.

The England international is thought to be worth £80million, according to The Times - a dramatic decrease in their £150million asking price last season.

And with his contract set to run out at the end of the year, Arsenal and Chelsea could lock horns once again in the summer transfer window.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Declan Rice, Arsenal, Chelsea, Transfers, Premier League, Football, Mykhailo Mudryk, West Ham United, Mikel Arteta