Declan Rice latest: £100m man ‘leaning towards’ Arsenal as Gunners make midfielder ‘top transfer target’

The Hammers may struggle to keep a hold of their star player as interest from Premier League rivals and beyond continues to grow.

Arsenal once again extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table to five points with a game in hand after a thrilling 3-2 win over Manchester United.

Second placed Manchester City had closed the gap with a 3-0 win over Wolves but the Gunners were able to secure a late win over United courtesy of Eddie Nkeitah’s 90th minute winner at the Emirates Stadium. Mikel Arteta’s side will face City in the FA Cup on Friday before their next league match against Everton.

Meanwhile, the January transfer window is set to close in a little over a week and there has so far only been a new arrival at the North London club who completed the capture of Brighton’s Leandro Trossard last week. The biggest ongoing transfer story continues to be the future of West Ham United’s Declan Rice.

The latest news, which comes from The Guardian, is that the England international would prefer to join Arsenal over some of the other clubs currently linked which includes Manchester United and Chelsea. Not only that, but the Gunners are said to have made Rice their ‘top transfer target’ and are ‘increasingly confident’ a deal can be struck.

A 2-0 win over Everton at the London Stadium last weekend saw West Ham take a massive step away from the relegation battle, going three points clear of the Merseyside club and out of the bottom three. However, they are still just one point above 18th place Bournemouth and far from safety with so long of the season remaining.

Rice still has 18 months remaining on his current contract and his future could depend on if the Hammers avoid relegation, which could see them hold firm on their £100m valuation. It is also reported that Champions League football is a priority for the midfielder in his next club which the Gunners are almost certainly going to secure.

The report from the Guardian claims that the Hammers may lower their initial valuation of £100m to £80m in the summer with Rice only having one year remaining on his deal. The 24-year old has been a key part of both the West Ham and England teams in recent years and has long been on the radar of Europe’s biggest clubs.