EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal step up Rice chase as West Ham face internal war

Steve Kay
Steve Kay
  • Updated: 20 May 2023 12:39 BST
  • 4 min read
West Ham's Declan Rice is linked with Arsenal

West Ham face an internal battle as Arsenal continue their transfer pursuit of midfielder Declan Rice.

Hammers boss David Moyes has been publicly bullish over the type of fee his side wish for the England international, repeatedly stating that a figure of over £100 million will be required to prise the 24-year-old away from the club.

FootballTransfers’ sources, though, have revealed that the price is likely to be under that figure.

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Arsenal have already opened talks with West Ham over Rice, as exclusively revealed on 13 May.

There are, however, extensive negotiations required before this deal becomes viable.

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Arsenal are in pole position to land Rice

Arsenal are in pole position to land Rice

How much do West Ham want for Declan Rice?

The complication is that Arsenal are targeting a very different fee from the West Ham board, while there is set to be an internal struggle at the Hammers over the make up of the deal.

FootballTransfers understands that while the hierarchy of the Hammers want a significant up-front cash lump sum for Rice – around £85-95m – manager David Moyes wants a part-exchange deal that would immediately bolster his squad but would not be as lucrative financially.

Among the players who could be traded to the London Stadium club for Rice include Reiss Nelson, Folarin Balogun and Albert Sambi-Lokonga, all of whom are of interest to Moyes ahead of the summer transfer window.

Declan Rice, West Ham

Declan Rice, West Ham

Key for the West Ham board, meanwhile, is the structure of the deal. The more money that Mikel Arteta’s side offer as an advance on Rice’s transfer fee, the more attractive it is to their London rivals.

Arsenal have the advantage of going into these negotiations with their options open. The Gunners have several midfielders on their shortlist ahead of the transfer window and could pivot to target Brighton’s Moises Caicedo instead.

Time is also running out on Rice’s contract. The England man will become a free agent in 2024, at which point he could leave West Ham for nothing. The balance of power is, therefore, with Arsenal in these talks.