Premier League rivals Arsenal are now in a strong position to sign Chelsea transfer target and England World Cup star Declan Rice, according to transfer expert Ben Jacobs.
“It’s going to be quite an open race and Arsenal might well enter it a bit later. If they win the league or at least qualify for the Champions League, they could be in a strong position,” Jacobs told Caught Offside.
“Sources have said on multiple occasions that Rice would like to stay in London, which opens the door to both Arsenal and Chelsea, perhaps more so than Manchester United.”
Jacobs also noted while West Ham have valued Rice for over £100million in the past, the midfielder will be available for £70-75million and this price tag makes a transfer “more realistic”.
“Arsenal and Chelsea will definitely be in the race for Rice. He’s a priority for Chelsea, but I think Arsenal could assess that area and weigh it up against other targets,” Jacobs added.
“Chelsea’s interest is more concrete than Arsenal’s, but there’s a growing sense that Arsenal might enter the race because the price he’ll be available for is becoming more realistic; it would have been something approaching a Premier League record fee in the summer, but now the landscape has completely changed.
“Rice, personally, is ready for a new challenge, and he’s spoken positively about Arsenal, praising Mikel Arteta.
“We forget as well that footballers are human beings as well, and being in the right city for them is important.
“In the case of Chelsea and Arsenal, they’ll both be able to offer Rice what he’s looking for – a competitive team in London, and likely some form of European football. Arsenal are near-guaranteed Champions League football and Chelsea aren’t.”