Arsenal have a number of targets on their transfer wish list this summer, with West Ham midfielder Declan Rice currently looking like their priority, according to Ben Jacobs in his exclusive CaughtOffside column.
Rice could cost big money, however, and the Gunners might also explore the likes of Moises Caicedo, Mason Mount and Martin Zubimendi, according to Jacobs, who adds that Crystal Palace ace Marc Guehi is also someone they’re looking at as an option to strengthen in defence.
All in all, it looks like Arsenal missing out on the Premier League title, which now seems increasingly likely, could mean they actually end up being more aggressive in their approach this summer as Mikel Arteta looks to make the improvements required to ensure his team don’t miss out on the title again next year.
Rice would certainly be ideal, but it’s potentially a complicated deal for Arsenal to pull off due to West Ham’s demands.
If AFC cannot land the England international, one imagines Gooners would be more than happy with someone like Caicedo as an alternative.
“Arsenal will be quite busy this summer. In some ways if they fail to win the Premier League it might make them even more aggressive in the market. Mikel Arteta will have a real sense of what he needs to challenge again next season and consolidate Arsenal’s top-four position,” Jacobs explained.
“Arsenal are looking for a midfielder and Declan Rice remains one of their top priorities. Rice has spoken glowingly about both Arteta and Arsenal. I am still told he prefers to stay in London, too, which both Arsenal and Chelsea can use to their advantage.
“West Ham are resigned to losing Rice. But now they are practically safe after beating Manchester United, the Hammers can be a bit more bullish. Relegation would have made it tricky to hold out for a £100m+ price.”
He added: “There still remains a chance Rice is sold for less than the £100-120m ballpark West Ham are pushing for. It will also depend on the volume of suitors. With Mykhaylo Mudryk, Shakhtar were able to play off Arsenal and Chelsea against each other to get a higher price. West Ham will be hoping for the same. The club won’t stand in Rice’s way, and know he can essentially triple his wages elsewhere. But now their Premier League status is all but mathematically secured, West Ham are in a stronger bargaining position.
“Arsenal also haven’t ruled out coming back in for Moises Caicedo and are aware of the Mason Mount situation. Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi is another name linked. Arsenal have sent scouts to watch him, and the interest is genuine, but to my knowledge a deal isn’t quite as advanced as perhaps has been suggested in Spain at this point.
“Arsenal may also choose to bolster their defence and Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi is one target. William Saliba’s injury has shown Arsenal need more centre-back depth. I do think Jakub Kiwior will be an important squad player next season, though.”
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