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Arsenal transfer news: West Ham waiting on Gunners' lawyers to seal Declan Rice deal with Jurrien Timber arrival imminent

Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber are set to take Arsenal's summer spending beyond £200m; Gunners hopeful of including Timber in squad for Thursday's friendly away to FC Nurnberg, while Rice could sign before squad departs for US tour on Sunday

Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice
Image: Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice could join Arsenal this week

West Ham are ready to sign the contracts for Declan Rice to become an Arsenal player.

The Hammers are waiting for Arsenal's lawyers to approve the final wording of the deal and, once that is done, they will sign and Rice will complete his move to north London.

Arsenal are hopeful of completing the signing of Rice before the squad flies to the USA for their pre-season tour on Sunday.

The deal for the midfielder will cost a club-record £105m fee, broken down into an initial payment of £100m with £5m in add-ons.

The deal will eclipse Arsenal's previous record purchase, which is currently Nicolas Pepe from Lille for £72m in 2019.

Rice's signing will be just short of the British transfer record, which was set by Chelsea when they paid Benfica £106.8m for Enzo Fernandez in January.

Declan Rice

Arsenal are also expected to confirm the signing of Jurrien Timber, with the club hopeful of including the defender in their squad for their friendly away to FC Nurnberg on Thursday.

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Timber has completed his medical ahead of his £38m transfer from Ajax and the paperwork is being finalised on a long-term contract.

The Gunners will pay £34m up front for Timber, with the remainder of the fee made up in performance-related add-ons.

Timber is being signed as a right-back - a role that was predominantly fulfilled by Ben White last season - but can also play at centre-back, and has previously attracted interest from Manchester United.

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Sky Sports' Nick Wright and Ron Walker take a deeper look into why Declan Rice became Mikel Arteta and Arsenal's No 1 target

Balogun asking price set at £50m

With Rice and Timber set to join, Arsenal are now turning their focus towards securing transfers for players not in Mikel Arteta's plans.

Folarin Balogun, Nicolas Pepe, Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Cedric Soares are all available.

There is huge interest in Balogun from clubs around Europe - including AC Milan, Marseille and Monaco - but no official offers have been submitted for the striker, who Arsenal value at £50m.

Balogun - who was eligible for England but has committed his international future to the USA - scored 22 goals in 39 games while on loan at French side Reims last season.

Folarin Balogun is the current Ligue 1 top goalscorer with 14 goals in 20 games
Image: Do Folarin Balogun have a future at Arsenal?

Lokonga - who spent the second half of last season on loan at Crystal Palace - has said he will need to move to get regular first-team football.

Pepe spent the 2022/23 campaign on loan at Nice, while Tavares was with Marseille and Cedric was with Fulham.

There is also interest among European clubs in Thomas Partey, who has two years remaining on his contract.

Arsenal have not ruled out returning to the market should they generate enough money from sales.

The club have been looking at strengthening their right-sided attacking options throughout the last few windows, while recruiting another midfielder has not been ruled out should Partey leave.

What Rice adds to Arsenal and where he fits...

Declan Rice Thumbnail

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 to aim a pass towards Thomas Partey deep in the Arsenal half, set off on a sprint to close the Ghanaian down, reaching him just in time to steal possession, then carrying the ball into the box and finding the onrushing Lucas Paqueta.

How Declan Rice compares to Arsenal's midfielders
Image: How Declan Rice compares to Arsenal's midfielders

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.

Where does Rice's transfer fee rank?

Declan Rice

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 ever, costing £5m more than the £100m Manchester City paid for Jack Grealish in August 2021.

It would also be only the third time an English club has paid over £100m for a player.

Declan Rice

Analysis: Why Timber fits the bill for Arsenal

Sky Sports' Nick Wright:

At only 22 years old but with nearly 200 senior games for club and country already behind him, Timber offers exactly the blend of youth and experience that Arsenal now look for in new additions.

He also brings versatility and adaptability. Timber has played primarily as a centre-back in a back four for Ajax and usually operates in a back three for the Dutch national team. But he is equally capable of slotting in at right-back and also has the capacity to tuck into midfield.

Jurrien Timber's passing ability is a big part of his appeal to Arsenal
Image: Jurrien Timber's passing ability is a big part of his appeal to Arsenal

Those qualities are crucial for Arteta, who likes his full-backs to step into central areas in possession, and there are plenty of other factors that appeal to the Arsenal boss.

Timber is regarded as an excellent defender, strong in the tackle and in aerial challenges too, but his biggest strength lies in his passing ability. Timber is excellent on the ball and the statistics underline his importance to Ajax in that regard.

Last season in the Eredivisie, he had more touches and made more passes than any other player in the division. He also ranked top for forward passes, underlining his capacity to not only recycle possession but pierce opposition lines and launch attacks.

That ability is sure to be crucial to Arsenal, whose defenders are required to withstand opposition pressing and provide a starting point for the team's attacks. Arteta will hope to harness Timber's talent for that side of the game next season and beyond.

Explained: How Arsenal can afford big-money summer signings

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 £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."

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Football finance expert Kieran Maguire says Arsenal's seemingly enhanced willingness to spend is a 'reward' for Mikel Arteta

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."

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

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?

Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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