Presenter ExWHUemployee has denied reports that West Ham United captain Declan Rice has already agreed to join Arsenal.
What’s the word?
It’s widely understood that the English midfielder will be leaving the Hammers in the summer as he looks to fulfil his ambition of playing for a Champions League side.
It’s also reported that the Gunners are in the market for a new signing in the middle of the park with Rice being widely tipped as a key target this summer.
In fact, Spanish publication Nacional (via Football365) state that the player has already “given his word” to Mikel Arteta’s team, committing to a future transfer.
However, in a new update shared on The West Ham Way Patreon, Ex has denied it is anything close to being done and dusted just yet.
He said: “Reports that captain Declan Rice has a “gentleman’s agreement” in place to join Arsenal is untrue. Whilst Arsenal are said to be one of the front runners in signing the England international, there is no agreement and at this point all options are open.
“Rice remains fully committed to West Ham and in a week which has seen Brighton’s Caicedo (a player who West Ham once turned down signing) release a statement asking to leave and now being placed on leave to sort his head out, Rice is likely to captain the side out at Derby or at the latest Newcastle away.
“Whilst it is accepted in West Ham circles that Declan will move in the summer the player wants to do his best to get the club as far up the table as possible and hopefully achieve a successful cup run in either the FA Cup or the Conference League. We will keep you updated on the player’s future if and when we hear any developments.”
Future up in the air?
While Rice may well be on the club’s agenda, in all likelihood he won’t be moving this winter and so the Gunners are targeting Brighton’s Moises Caicedo for now.
According to the Mirror, though, that interest won’t stop Arsenal from still chasing Rice in the summer. Even so, while it remains possible that the north London outfit sign both, it doesn’t seem as though anything is set in stone just yet.
Rice is captain of the Hammers and has played over 200 times for the cub. He still has 18 months left on his contract and will likely want to leave on as best terms possible.
With that in mind, it makes sense for him to keep all his options open now and just focus on the season at hand. Seeing as the club are caught down towards the bottom of the table and may be dragged into a relegation fight, he may need to be at his best in the second half of the campaign to lead the Irons out of any potential trouble.