Mikel Arteta puts Arsenal in the lead of others to sign Declan Rice

Declan Rice: Arsenal’s Future Captain Amidst Manchester City’s Pursuit

D. Rice

In a captivating transfer saga, Declan Rice, the talented West Ham midfielder, has caught the attention of two English giants, Arsenal and Manchester City. Mikel Arteta, Arsenal’s head coach, sees Rice as a potential future captain for the Gunners, as he battles to stave off Manchester City’s anticipated advances. With West Ham bracing themselves for an imminent bid from City, following their captain Ilkay Gundogan’s departure to Barcelona, the stage is set for a thrilling transfer battle.

Arsenal’s Persistence and West Ham’s Valuation:

Having already had two formal offers rejected by West Ham, Arsenal remains determined to secure Rice’s signature. The most recent bid, totaling £90 million, demonstrates their commitment. However, West Ham has held firm, demanding a minimum of £100 million for their prized England international. Furthermore, they prefer the guaranteed portion of the fee to be paid in two installments by the end of 2025, indicating their desire for a structured deal.

Manchester City’s Looming Interest:

Manchester City’s interest in Rice has been the subject of much speculation, and West Ham believes a bid from the treble winners is imminent. With Gundogan’s departure leaving a void in City’s midfield, their pursuit of Rice is logical. The anticipated offer, rumored to be £75 million guaranteed with an additional £15 million in performance-related add-ons, could set the stage for a heated bidding war between Arsenal and Manchester City.

United’s Outside Chance:

While Manchester United has enquired about Rice’s availability, they are currently seen as outsiders in the race. Their proposed offer of £40 million plus Harry Maguire and Anthony Elanga falls short of West Ham’s valuation. Consequently, Arsenal appears to have the upper hand in the pursuit of the 24-year-old midfielder.

Arteta’s Belief in Rice’s Leadership Qualities:

Mikel Arteta holds a strong belief that Declan Rice has the potential to become Arsenal’s captain in the future. However, there is no immediate plan to grant Rice the captaincy, with Martin Odegaard currently wearing the armband. Nonetheless, it is widely believed that Rice would swiftly establish himself as a leader within the Emirates dressing room, paving the way for his eventual appointment as full-time captain.

The Leadership Group and Xhaka’s Departure:

Should Rice join Arsenal, he would likely become an integral part of the club’s leadership group, consisting of Granit Xhaka, Gabriel Jesus, and Odegaard. However, Xhaka’s expected departure for Bayer Leverkusen this summer would create a void that Rice could easily fill. His arrival would reinforce Arteta’s vision and further solidify his role within the team.

Rice’s Preference and City’s Temptation:

Rice’s preference, up until now, has been to join Arsenal. He envisions himself playing a pivotal role in Arteta’s plans and fitting seamlessly into the Gunners’ style of play. Personal terms are unlikely to pose an obstacle in negotiations. However, the allure of Manchester City, particularly if their interest proves genuine, cannot be ignored. The prospect of playing for the treble winners under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage is undoubtedly enticing.

Guardiola’s Departure and Rice’s Decision:

Sources suggest that Rice would consider Guardiola’s expected departure in 2025 when his contract expires. This factor could play a part in his decision-making process. However, if Rice is convinced of regular playing time and a secure long-term position within the team, joining City may become a serious consideration for him.

The Gunners deal with Kai Havertz

K. Havertz

Chelsea have reached an agreement with Arsenal for the transfer of Kai Havertz, ensuring a minimum fee of £65 million for the player.

Mail Sport initially reported that Arsenal had made a verbal offer to Chelsea for Havertz, valued at up to £60 million. In the span of 24 hours, the deal has progressed, and the clubs have agreed on a package that guarantees Chelsea £65 million. The final fee could reach between £67.5 million and £70 million with the inclusion of add-ons.

Havertz has agreed to a long-term contract with Arsenal, with Mail Sport disclosing that he will earn a minimum of £210,000 per week. The player’s representatives have been in close contact with Arsenal during the past 48 hours, aware that an agreement was imminent.

Before officially signing his contract with the north London club, Havertz will undergo a medical examination in the coming days.

After their initial £50 million offer was rejected last week, Arsenal continued negotiations with Chelsea to settle on a fee for the German international.

Havertz joined Chelsea in 2020 and has been a regular starter throughout the club’s recent managerial changes. Despite Chelsea’s desire to extend his current contract, which runs until 2025, Havertz is determined to secure a transfer.

According to ESPN, Arsenal plans to utilize Havertz interchangeably in any of the three attacking positions in a 4-3-3 system, as both a No. 10 and a No. 8. Manager Mikel Arteta sees the value in Havertz’s versatility and has played a significant role in the ongoing negotiations for the player.

While at Stamford Bridge, Havertz has played various forward roles, but this season he has often been deployed as a pure No. 9 due to a shortage of strikers. Chelsea aims to raise funds to support their recruitment plans, with Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo as their top target for the summer transfer window. However, Caicedo’s price tag is set at a minimum of £100 million, and Chelsea needs to sell players before committing to such a significant expense.

As part of their efforts to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations, Chelsea has been actively looking to offload several members of their first-team squad during the summer. Eduardo Mendy, Mateo Kovacic, and Romelu Lukaku have all been linked with potential moves away, while N’Golo Kante has already completed his transfer to Al-Ittihad.

Reports indicate that Arsenal views Havertz’s versatility on the field as a crucial target for the club. The Gunners have prioritized Havertz over Declan Rice, although they remain confident in securing both players.

Arsenal’s interest in Rice arises from the potential departure of midfielder Thomas Partey, who is deemed surplus to requirements by Arteta. With the goal of rebuilding the squad ahead of their return.

Newcastle in Advanced Talks for Sandro Tonali

S. Tonali

Newcastle United’s pursuit of Italy midfielder Sandro Tonali has reached an advanced stage, with negotiations ongoing between the club and AC Milan. The potential £55 million transfer has seen Newcastle’s sporting director, Dan Ashworth, and head of recruitment, Steve Nickson, engage in talks with Milan executives and Tonali’s agent, Giuseppe Riso. With Tonali’s recent appearance for the Italy U21s and an agent meeting scheduled, the deal inches closer to completion, pending medicals and final details. Manager Eddie Howe has identified Tonali as his primary target for the summer.

Tonali’s Rising Stock and Newcastle’s Interest:

Newcastle’s scouts have closely monitored Sandro Tonali’s performances over recent months, including his notable displays in the Champions League semi-finals against Inter Milan. With 48 appearances and two goals for his boyhood club last season, Tonali’s potential and ability to anchor Newcastle’s midfield have captured the attention of the club’s hierarchy. His arrival would provide the freedom for Bruno Guimaraes to play in a more advanced role, addressing a long-standing priority for the club.

Strategic Moves and Potential Signings:

Newcastle’s pursuit of Crystal Palace defender Joachim Andersen may receive a boost due to Palace’s interest in Torino defender Perr Schurrs. The domino effect of Palace’s pursuit could facilitate negotiations between Newcastle and Andersen, adding depth and quality to their defensive line. Additionally, the club has shown interest in Hertha Berlin forward Derry Scherhant, a 20-year-old prospect who could bolster Newcastle’s attacking options.

Eddie Howe’s Vision and the Midfield Reinforcement:

Under the guidance of manager Eddie Howe, Newcastle United is actively shaping its squad to align with his footballing philosophy. The signing of Sandro Tonali would not only add quality and depth to the midfield but also provide a vital piece in Howe’s tactical puzzle. Tonali’s presence as a deep-lying midfielder would allow Newcastle to solidify their core while unleashing Guimaraes’ creative prowess further up the pitch.

Newcastle United’s negotiations with AC Milan for Sandro Tonali signify the club’s determination to strengthen their squad ahead of the upcoming season. The potential transfer would bring a highly-rated Italian midfielder to St. James’ Park, providing stability and vision in the heart of their midfield. As Eddie Howe continues to shape his team, Tonali’s arrival could be a pivotal step towards Newcastle’s reinvigoration and their aspirations for a successful campaign.

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Abdulwaasi Bamgbala, a Nigerian sports journalist and content writer for Football World, specializing in top 5 leagues and European football coverage.

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