The transfer will eclipse the £72m club transfer record that Arsenal paid for Nicolas Pepe in 2019; Rice has spent the last 10 years at West Ham, making 245 appearances for the club; Arsenal have also spent £65m on Kai Havertz and are working on a deal for Ajax's Jurrien Timber
Wednesday 5 July 2023 11:04, UK
Arsenal have agreed a deal to sign West Ham United captain Declan Rice, after compromise on the structure of the £105m deal was finalised on Tuesday night
It is understood Arsenal will pay the initial £100m over two years. One source has told Sky Sports News Rice will have a medical this week ahead of signing a long-term contract.
The move will smash Arsenal's club transfer record (Nicolas Pepe from Lille for £72m in 2019) and will be the biggest transfer fee between two British clubs.
The transfer will also be just below the British transfer record, with Chelsea paying £106.8m for midfielder Enzo Fernandez in January of this year.
Rice will bring a decade-long spell at West Ham to an end, rising from a youth-team player to club captain. He made 245 appearances for the Hammers since making his first-team debut in 2017 and his final game for the club saw him lift West Ham's first trophy in 47 years by winning the Europa Conference League final.
If Arsenal needed any further convincing over the merits of a move for Declan Rice, they got it just after the half-hour mark during their 2-2 draw with West Ham at the London Stadium in April.
Mikel Arteta's side were two goals up and seemingly cruising towards a victory which would have sent them six points clear of Manchester City. But it all changed with a moment of quick-thinking from a player they now hope to make their record signing.
Rice, seeing Kieran Tierney about aim a pass towards Thomas Partey deep in the Arsenal half, set off on a sprint to close the Ghana midfielder down, reaching him just in time to steal possession, then carrying the ball into the box and finding the onrushing Lucas Paqueta.
The subsequent penalty, won by Paqueta and scored by Said Benrahma, shifted the momentum of the game away from Arsenal. Perhaps even that of the title race too. And it started with Rice.
That passage of play showed many of the qualities that make Rice so appealing to Arsenal: the anticipation to spot the opportunity; the speed and power to get there and emerge with the ball; the composure to set up his team-mate and force the penalty...
Read the full feature on where Declan Rice will fit at Arsenal and the qualities he will give them.
Jude Bellingham became the most expensive English player of all time when he made the £115m move from Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid earlier this month.
Rice becomes the second most expensive, costing £5m more than the £100m Manchester City paid for Jack Grealish in August 2021.
It would also be only the third time a English club has paid over £100m for a player.
Football finance expert Kieran Maguire says Arsenal's seemingly enhanced willingness to spend is a 'reward' for Mikel Arteta.
"Arsenal are actually in a very strong position when it comes to spending," he told Sky Sports News.
"The reason for that is they have managed to get their wages under control.
"Arsenal's wages are lower than they were in 2018. They are £150m to a £170m less than Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City. That has given them the flexibility to go into the market and buy new players without having to worry too much.
"Plus, they have got the additional benefits of Champions League matches coming in, premium prices and the minimum I would say prize money of £50m from being participants.
"So, you factor that all together and they've probably still got a bit of leeway in terms of what they can spend over this present window."
When asked if there's been a strategy change at Arsenal, he added: "Yes. They had a retrenchment. They went through some fallow years when they weren't qualifying for the Champions League.
"They have managed to get rid of high earners, the likes of Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang off that payroll, and that has given them the ability to now go into the market and be very competitive and try to match other clubs.
"Arsenal used to be known as the Bank of England club. They've always been well run financially, and I think this change in terms of spending is a reward for Mikel Arteta in terms of his ability to get them into those Champions League places again, which means so much in terms of enhanced revenue."
Who will be on the move this summer ahead of the transfer window closing at 11pm on September 1 in England and midnight in Scotland?
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