Declan Rice 'has his heart set on move to Arsenal' but West Ham want player included in deal
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Declan Rice 'has his heart set' on a move to Premier League runners-up Arsenal, according to reports, but West Ham want a player included in the deal.
The 24-year-old midfielder looks set to leave the Hammers after a nine-year stay.
In fact, after their Europa Conference League final win over Fiorentina, West Ham chairman David Sullivan confirmed that Rice wants to leave the East London club this summer.
"I think it has to be [Rice's final game]," Sullivan told talkSPORT. "We promised him he could go. He set his heart on going. You can't ask for a man who has committed more to us this season.
"In due course, he has to get on and we have to get a replacement - or several replacements."
Sullivan added: "It's not something we want to happen. We offered him £200,000-a-week 18 months ago. He turned it down.
"It's cost him £10m to stay at West Ham in that time [in lost wages]. And he wants to go. You can't keep a player who doesn't want to be there."
Rice made a somewhat surprising admission after the final whistle on Wednesday night, saying "it's not goodbye yet", although reports suggest he wants a move to Arsenal.
That being said, The Sun claim West Ham want a deal to involve Gunners midfielder Emile Smith Rowe, who missed most of this season with an ongoing groin injury.
An insider told the publication: “West Ham know they are in a strong position with this deal which is why targeting a talent like Emile Smith Rowe has become part of the conversation at the club.
“Nobody can replace Declan Rice, but David Moyes is a big fan of Smith Rowe and thinks he could really help the team as they rebuild and plan for life after Declan Rice.
“For a long period Smith Rowe was one of Arsenal’s best players but he has fallen down the pecking order a little bit. He won’t be a starter next season but Arsenal aren’t keen to lose the player.
"However, if it means getting Rice and keeping him away from Bayern Munich and Manchester United, it could ultimately end up being a road they are forced to go down. Rice is there main summer target.”
They also say Arsenal is the move Rice ultimately wants because "he likes the journey the club is on and the role he could potentially play in helping them to move to the next level."
🗞️| Jack Wilshere on Declan Rice: “I saw his interview last night [after the Europa Conference League final] and I think he made it clear that he knows there’s speculation and everyone knows that Arsenal are interested.— Arsenal Buzz (@ArsenalBuzzCom) June 9, 2023
“Listen, I’d love to see Dec [at Arsenal]. I think what Dec… pic.twitter.com/AUiUSnhc2n
Thoughts on a potential deal for Declan Rice including Emile Smith Rowe?
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