Skip to content

Declan Rice to Arsenal: West Ham confirm captain's departure ahead of £105m move to Gunners

West Ham signed the paperwork for the £105m sale of Declan Rice to Arsenal on Friday; one Hammers insider told Sky Sports News: "I've never known anything like this saga"; Gunners set to announce deal before leaving for US tour on Sunday

West Ham's Declan Rice warms up prior to the start of the Europa Conference League final soccer match between Fiorentina and West Ham at the Eden Arena in Prague, Wednesday, June 7, 2023.
Image: West Ham have confirmed the exit of Declan Rice

West Ham have confirmed that they have reached an agreement for Declan Rice to leave the club.

Arsenal, who are not mentioned in West Ham's statement, are yet to announce the arrival of Rice for £105m - a record fee between two British clubs.

Rice posted a farewell message on Instagram: "I can't believe an incredible 10 years has come to an end. West Ham has been a massive part of my life on and off the pitch. Saying goodbye is never easy.

"I've had some unbelievable highs, none higher than that night in Prague. I've also grown a lot as a person, a player and as a captain.

"From the very first moment I captained the side, under the guidance of Nobes [Mark Noble], I have felt nothing other than pride & passion. As a captain, delivering that European trophy was the icing on the cake.

"My connection with the fans means everything to me and my family. You have treated us like one of your own since the day I arrived. Thank you.

"Everyone knows how special West Ham is as a club that goes for all managers, coaches, back room staff and of course, my team mates.

Also See:

"Thank you for some amazing memories and some of the best days of my life.

"Love you all. Love Dec."

In an open letter to West Ham fans via the club's official website, Rice also said his goodbyes after "an absolute whirlwind of emotion" over the last few weeks.

Sullivan: We didn't want to sell Rice

Rice's last act as a West Ham player was to lift the Europa Conference League trophy last month to secure the club's first piece of silverware since the 1980 FA Cup and a first European trophy since 1965.

Joint-chair David Sullivan told the club's official website: "I am sorry to see Declan leave us but I believe that everyone at West Ham United should be very proud of the part we have played in his journey from the Academy of Football at Chadwell Heath to becoming the most valuable young player in English football.

"I would like to make it clear to our supporters that we did not want to sell Declan. We wanted to build our team around him and made a series of improved, long-term contract offers to secure his future.

"However, once Declan made it clear that he wished to move on and seek a new challenge, the club felt it would not be right to stand in his way, acting in the best interests of West Ham United."

The England international made 245 appearances for the club and manager David Moyes was understandably sad to see him leave.

"I'd like to personally thank Declan for everything he has done during his time at West Ham United," he said.

"Obviously it is sad when we say goodbye to someone who has been with us for so long but we must now look forward.

"As history shows, no player is ever bigger than the club. Our entire focus now is on building upon the success we enjoyed last season, adding to our talented Europa Conference League title-winning squad as we enter our third consecutive season in Europe, and continuing to develop the best young talent through our successful academy."

West Ham received Arsenal paperwork on Friday

West Ham signed the deal to sell Rice to Arsenal after finally receiving paperwork from the Gunners on Friday.

The transfer was agreed eight days ago and the Hammers were becoming increasingly frustrated by the delay to complete the deal.

One insider told Sky Sports News: "I've never known anything like this saga".

However, West Ham have now signed the deal to sell Rice to Arsenal, who are set to announce their club-record signing before heading to the US for a pre-season tour on Sunday.

The hold-up was being caused by delays with the paperwork being drawn up by Arsenal's lawyers.

As far as West Ham were aware, Rice had passed his Gunners medical and had been training regularly while on holiday in Portugal.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Rice was left impressed by Bruno Fernandes after the pair trained together alongside other Portugal internationals at a sports complex in the Algarve

The deal is broken down into an initial payment of £100m, which will be paid over 24 months, with £5m in add-ons, which are £1m every time Arsenal qualify for the Champions League and Rice starts 60 per cent of games.

The £105m deal will eclipse Arsenal's previous record purchase, which is currently Nicolas Pepe from Lille for £72m in 2019.

But 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.

Arsenal did conclude the £38m signing of Jurrien Timber, who has signed a five-year contract, on Friday.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

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

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

Timber has been 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.

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 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

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."

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

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

Win £250,000 with Super 6!
Win £250,000 with Super 6!

Another Sunday, another chance to win £250,000 with Super 6. Play for free, entries by 4:30pm.

Around Sky