Arsenal break transfer records to land Rice

July 16 – Arsenal have smashed their transfer record with the signing of midfielder Declan Rice from West Ham. The London club reportedly paid a transfer fee of £100 million plus £5 million in add-ons.

In 2019, Arsenal acquired Nicolas Pepe from Lille for £72 million, but the Ivorian turned out to be a disappointment. The Gunners will be confident that their new-record signing will deliver more than Pepe after a stellar season with West Ham culminated in winning the Europa Conference League. Rice could become the most expensive player in British history, eclipsing the £100 million Manchester City paid to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa two years ago.

“It’s been a bit overwhelming because of my relationship with West Ham. [With] the love and support I have for them, it’s been really hard to walk away,” said Rice.

“In football, amazing opportunities arise. Big clubs, like Arsenal, have come for me and it’s really hard to turn down. You only ever get one career and I really believe in what Mikel is building here and the squad he’s building. I’m really looking forward to the future with Arsenal.”

Rice has spent his senior career at West Ham, making his first-team debut in 2017. He has 43 appearances for England.

“Everyone at West Ham United should be very proud of the part we have played in his journey from the Academy of Football at Chadwell Heath to becoming the most valuable young player in English football,” said West Ham joint-chairman David Sullivan in a statement.

Rice is Arsenal’s second big signing this summer following the arrival of £67.5 million Kai Havertz from Chelsea as the club seek to reinforce their squad ahead of the new season when they will try to match or surpass their last campaign which saw them finish second behind Premier League champions and treble winners Manchester City.

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