FootballTransfers can reveal that Arsenal have initiated preliminary talks with West Ham over the potential summer transfer of England international midfielder Declan Rice. Despite being linked with Manchester CityManchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool in recent months, Rice has made it clear that he favours a transfer to Arsenal. Sources suggest that the Gunners have taken the initiative in the race for Rice by speaking to West Ham about details such as the fee and payment structure last week. However, there has been no direct contact from Arsenal with Rice or his representatives since January, respecting the wishes of both the player and West Ham to remain focused on their Premier League and Europa Conference League campaigns.

Arsenal willing for part-exchange deal

According to FootballTransfers, West Ham are expected to demand a huge transfer fee for Declan Rice, with a British record figure having been mooted. However, Arsenal could try to drive this figure down by including a player in the deal. It is unclear who this player might be, but West Ham are looking for a striker, and manager David Moyes is reportedly a fan of Folarin Balogun, who is on loan at Ligue 1 side Reims.

While Arsenal are unwilling to part with Balogun, the opportunity to drive Rice’s price down to a more palatable figure could be seen as an exceptional circumstance. However, a West Ham move for Balogun could depend on Moyes’ future at the club, which remains unclear. It is certain, though, that Arsenal are stepping up their pursuit of Rice ahead of the transfer window opening next month.

By Lylla

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