West Ham are reportedly fuming with Arsenal’s Declan Rice delay as they fear they could now miss out on their own summer transfer targets.
Rice has agreed personal terms and completed a medical with the Gunners after a £105million fee was agreed between the two clubs more than a week ago – but Arsenal are yet to announce the signing.
Rice enjoyed a stellar career with West Ham and made 245 appearances for the east Londoners after breaking into their team as an 18-year-old in 2017. The midfield genius captained the Hammers to the Europa League semi-finals in 2022 and went on to lead them to Europa Conference League success last season as they got the better of Fiorentina in the final.
West Ham owner David Sullivan confirmed Rice would be leaving the club in the aftermath of their European final. And the Hammers accepted Arsenal’s enormous transfer offer at the start of this month.
With pre-season matches already underway, West Ham would have been expecting the deal to have been done and dusted by now. But Arsenal lawyers are reportedly yet to sign off the contract.
And, according to The Sun, Hammers chiefs are ‘tired of the drawn-out process’ and have been frustrated over Arsenal’s actions during negotiations. David Moyes’ side are waiting for the deal to go through before they conduct their own transfer activity but could now miss out on Leicester star Harvey Barnes and Fulham ace Joao Palhinha.
The transfer delay is hardly the best preparation for Rice either ahead of the new campaign as he is currently training alone in Portugal. But Gunners boss Mikel Arteta wants the deal to go through before his team travel to the USA on Sunday for their pre-season tour.
Rice has developed into one of the best midfielders in Europe throughout the last few years and has won 43 England caps during his time in east London. The 24-year-old was a crucial player for Gareth Southgate during the Three Lions’ run to the Euro 2020 final two years ago and also played a starring role at last year’s World Cup in Qatar as England reached the quarter-finals before being knocked out by France.
Arsenal came close to winning their first Premier League title since 2004 last season as they led the way for much of the campaign before being leapfrogged by Manchester City. And Arteta will be hoping the signing of Rice, following the arrival of Kai Havertz from Chelsea, will turn the tide in the Gunners’ favour as they search for silverware again next season.