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Arsenal begin talks to sign 24-year-old England international who is also on Liverpool’s radar: Reports



Arsenal begin talks to sign 24-year-old England international who is also on Liverpool’s radar: Reports

Liverpool still in the race for Arsenal target Declan Rice (not in pic).

Arsenal have reportedly initiated formal talks with West Ham United over the possibility of signing Liverpool target Declan Rice.

According to journalist Steve Kay, via Rudi Galetti on Twitter, the Gunners made preliminary contacts in January to explore a potential deal for Rice. While Arsenal remain the favorites to sign him, Liverpool are said to be pursuing the 24-year-old as well.

Rice’s contract expires in the summer of 2024 but there is a possibility he can leave at the end of the season. The Hammers would also know that they run the risk of losing him on a free transfer next year if he doesn’t pen fresh terms.

The Hammers apparently value him at £100 million, although there is a possibility that the Gunners can sign him for £75 million. Arsenal currently have Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey and Jorginho as their first-team options in defensive midfield.

Mohamed Elneny, 30, is also on their books but has played just 111 minutes in the Premier League this season. Rice would considerably strengthen and future-proof Arsenal’s midfield but Liverpool’s need for signings in the centre of the park is far greater.

They are expected to lose James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita as free agents this summer. Fabinho, meanwhile, has no real competition in defensive midfield. Rice’s incredible fitness record would also be a positive for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

The English midfielder, who spent seven years at Chelsea’s academy until his move to West Ham in 2013, has missed just one game in his career due to fitness issues.

Arsenal will be ‘fuming’ with title race collapse, says former Liverpool star

Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy believes Arsenal players will be ‘fuming’ after their recent collapse in the Premier League title race.

The Gunners were outplayed by Brighton & Hove Albion at the Emirates yesterday (May 14), losing 3-0. The loss means Manchester City have a four-point lead at the top of the table with a game in hand.

They need three points from their remaining three games to secure their fifth league title under Pep Guardiola. After the loss against the Seagulls, Murphy said on BBC MOTD 2:

“I think they’ll be fuming, a lot of those players because they’ve been in such a great position. Yes, as the manager you have to look at the bigger picture, but as a player, you’d be looking at those few games recently where they’ve thrown points away.”

Arsenal have dropped 12 out of a possible 21 points in their last seven league games. They notably drew 2-2 against Liverpool and West Ham United last month despite leading 2-0 against both teams.

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