England midfielder Declan Rice is expected to leave West Ham United in the summer, with Premier League leaders Arsenal hoping to beat their rivals to his signature.

Declan Rice has been linked with champions Manchester City and a swap deal involving Kalvin Phillips. (Photo by Alex Pantling - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

Arsenal have made Declan Rice their “top target” and are confident they can beat Chelsea to the signing of the £80million star.

Rice is expected to leave West Ham United in the summer as he enters the final year of his contract at the London Stadium, with Manchester United also amongst the clubs expected to enter a bidding war to sign him. However, The Times report that Arsenal are growing increasingly confident they will land Rice after making him their top summer transfer target.

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The Gunners believe that their current status as Premier League leaders will give them the advantage over their rivals during negotiations.

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Sunday’s 2-0 victory away to Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby extended Mikel Arteta’s side’s lead at the summit to eight points over champions Manchester City, who have also been linked with Rice in the past.

The England midfielder is expected to be available for around £80million in the summer, with the Hammers lowering their asking price due to the time left on his contract.

Clubs had been told Rice would cost in excess of £100million last year, only for West Ham to fail to agree a new deal with the 24-year-old. His current contract expires in 2024, although the club do have the option to extend it by a further year.

Declan Rice

Arsenal sporting director Edu will be keen to avoid a repeat of the club’s pursuit for Mykhaylo Mudryk after missing out on the Ukrainian winger to Chelsea.

Mudryk was unveiled at Stamford Bridge on Sunday after the Blues swooped to agree a fee with Shakhtar Donetsk, despite Arsenal reportedly finalising personal terms and Mudryk teasing that the transfer was imminent on social media.

Rice has an existing connection to Chelsea, though, having spent seven years in the club’s academy before leaving to join West Ham at the age of 14.

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