Arsenal accused of £100m 'smokescreen' by club legend

Stuart Telford
Stuart Telford
  • Updated: 18 Mar 2023 10:03 GMT
  • 3 min read
Arsenal, Moises Caicedo, Alex Scott, Declan Rice

Arsenal have been linked with a blockbuster bid for England midfielder Declan Rice, but Lee Dixon thinks it's a ruse…

Rice is one of the most in-demand players in the Premier League - one of the first names on Gareth Southgate's England teamsheet yet embroiled in a relegation battle with West Ham.

It has been widely reported that Arsenal will compete with Chelsea for Rice's signature, with FootballTransfers valuing him at €64 million (£56.7m) and West Ham understood to want north of £100m.

READ: Chelsea to make another €100m-plus HIJACK of Arsenal target

But Dixon, who won four league titles with the Gunners between 1989 and 2002, doubts his former club will fork out for the midfielder.

"I don't think Arsenal will pay £100 million," he told BettingSites. "I don't think Rice is worth £100m to be honest. I think West Ham are going to want even more than that. I don't know who Arsenal are looking at.

"But based on the way they've recruited so far I would suggest that they've got alternatives. It might be that Rice is a bit of a smoke screen, and they're not really that interested.

READ: Forget Caicedo and Rice! Here’s the young Englishman Arsenal really need

"I think he's a really good player but I'm not convinced he will be at Arsenal next season."

Caicedo the real target?

Arsenal had a £70m bid for Brighton's Moises Caicedo rejected in January, and the Ecuadorean is understood to be a more likely target for Mikel Arteta and Co.

It could be argued that Arsenal need to focus on other areas of their squad with Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka performing to a high level, but strength in depth behind them is needed with Arteta switching to a three-man midfield.

Mohamed Elneny is out for 'an extended period' after a knee injury, while Albert Sambi Lokonga, on loan at Crystal Palace, doesn't seem to have a future at the Emirates.