West Ham have confirmed they will allow Declan Rice to leave the club this summer and expect bids to be lodged imminently.
Arsenal have been in contact with the England international for months and have been waiting for the player’s season to be over before firming up their interest.
Rice drew a line under his Hammers’ career in the best possible fashion last night, leading the team to glory in the Uefa Conference League final to end a 43 year wait for a major honour.
Speaking to talkSPORT this morning, chairman David Sullivan revealed: “We promised him he could go. He set his heart on going.
“You can’t ask for a man who has committed more to us this season. In due course, he has to get on and we have to get a replacement – or several replacements.
“It’s not something we want to happen. We offered him £200,000 a week 18 months ago [and] he turned it down. It’s cost him £10 million to stay at West Ham in that time.
“He wants to go. You can’t keep a player who doesn’t want to be there.”
He added: “I think the offers will start to come today.”
Arsenal aren’t the only club interested in signing Rice. The former Chelsea player has also been contacted by Bayern Munich and Manchester United.
All the same, if the Gunners’ can match West Ham’s asking price – thought to be in the region of £100 million – it sounds as though he’d jump at the chance to move to Emirates Stadium.
The midfielder wasn’t giving anything away in the aftermath of last night’s 2-1 win over Fiorentina in Prague.
“Obviously there is interest from other clubs but ultimately I’ve still got two years left at West Ham,” he said.
“I love this club, I love playing for this club. There hasn’t been anything yet. My focus is playing for West Ham, enjoying tonight and seeing what happens. I’m captain of this club and absolutely love it to pieces.
“I cannot speak highly enough of this place, let’s just see what happens.”
As things stand, it looks like Granit Xhaka’s future is tied to whether the Gunners can get a deal done for Rice or an alternative of similar stature. The Switzerland international has agreed personal terms on a four-year deal with Bayer Leverkusen.