In a summer transfer saga that’s becoming increasingly complex, Arsenal’s pursuit of West Ham captain Declan Rice has hit a potential roadblock. West Ham United, in a strategic move, has proposed a part-exchange deal involving Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe, a player highly admired by Hammers boss David Moyes.
The Gunners have been leading the race for Rice, with manager Mikel Arteta identifying the England international as a primary target to bolster his midfield. However, the £100m price tag placed on Rice by West Ham has been a point of contention, with Arsenal valuing the player closer to £90m.
Despite the price discrepancy, Arsenal remains confident in securing Rice’s signature. The club’s management believes that the Emirates Stadium is Rice’s preferred destination, which could give them an edge over other interested parties, including Bayern Munich and Manchester United.
However, the recent proposal from West Ham could test Arsenal’s resolve. Smith Rowe, despite having a quieter season, is still highly valued by Arteta. The potential loss of the 22-year-old attacking midfielder could force Arsenal to reconsider their approach.
West Ham’s chairman, David Sullivan, has confirmed that the club will not stand in Rice’s way, acknowledging that they had promised him a move. However, the club is keen to extract maximum value from the sale, hence the proposed part-exchange deal.
As the summer transfer window approaches, the chess game continues. Arsenal’s pursuit of Rice is not just about securing a top-tier player; it’s also about navigating the complex dynamics of player valuations, club negotiations, and the ever-present element of surprise in the form of part-exchange deals.