West Ham have confirmed they have reached an agreement for Declan Rice to leave the club.
West Ham have signed their captain’s deal to Arsenal after finally receiving paperwork from the Gunners on Friday.
The transfer was agreed eight days ago and the Hammers grew increasingly frustrated with the delay in completing the deal.
An insider said Sky Sports News: “I have never known anything like this saga”.
However, West Ham have now agreed to sell Rice to Arsenal, who are expected to announce his club-record signing before heading to the United States for a pre-season tour on Sunday.
The delay was caused by delays in drafting the documents by Arsenal’s lawyers.
As far as West Ham know, Rice had passed his Gunners medical and trained regularly while on vacation in Portugal.
The deal breaks down to an upfront payment of £100m with £5m in add-ons and will eclipse Arsenal’s previous record-breaking 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 £106.8million for Enzo Fernandez in January.
Arsenal on Friday completed the £38million signing of Jurrien Timber, who signed a five-year deal.
The Gunners paid Ajax £34m upfront for Timber, with the rest of the fee being performance-related add-ons.
Timber was signed as a right-back – a role which was mainly filled by Ben White last season – but can also play at centre-back and has already attracted interest from Manchester United.
What Rice adds to Arsenal and where it stands…
If Arsenal needed any more convincing on the merits of a move for Declan Rice, they got it just after the half-hour mark in their 2-2 draw with West Ham at the London Stadium in April.
Mikel Arteta’s side were two goals clear and appeared to be heading for a win that would have sent them six points clear of Manchester City. But that all changed with a quick moment of reflection from a player they now hope will sign their record.
Rice, seeing Kieran Tierney about to aim a pass to Thomas Partey deep in the Arsenal half, sprinted to close the Ghanaian, reaching him just in time to steal possession and then carrying the ball in the box and finding the hurry. Lucas Paqueta.
The ensuing penalty, won by Paqueta and scored by Said Benrahma, diverted the game’s momentum from Arsenal. Maybe even that of the title race too. And it all started with Rice.
That stint showed many of the qualities that make Rice so attractive to Arsenal: the anticipation of spotting the opportunity; the speed and power to get there and out with the ball; the composure to set up his teammate and force the penalty.
Where is Rice’s transfer fee?
Jude Bellingham became the most expensive English player of all time when he completed the £115million move from Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid earlier this month.
Rice becomes the second most expensive of all time, costing £5m more than the £100m paid by Manchester City Jack Greish in August 2021.
It would also only be the third time an English club have paid over £100million for a player.
Explained: How Arsenal can afford big summer signings
Football finance expert Kieran Maguire says Arsenal’s seemingly increased willingness to spend is a “reward” for Mikel Arteta.
“Arsenal are actually in a very strong spending position,” he said. Sky Sports News.
“The reason is that they managed to control their salaries.
“Arsenal wages are lower than they were in 2018. They are £150-170m lower than those of Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City. This has given them the opportunity to enter the market and buy new players without worrying too much.
“Plus they have the added benefits of upcoming Champions League games, premium prize money and the minimum, I would say, £50m as participants.
“So you factor in all of that and they probably still have a bit of wiggle room in terms of what they can spend in this current window.”
Asked if there had been a change in strategy at Arsenal, he added: “Yes. They had a retrenchment. They went through fallow years as they failed to qualify for the League. champions.
“They managed to get rid of high earners, like Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from that payroll, and that gave them the opportunity to now enter the market and be very competitive and try to compete with other clubs.
“Arsenal used to be known as the Bank of England club. They have always been well managed financially and I think this change in terms of spending is a reward for Mikel Arteta in terms of his ability to bring them back into the game. those Champions League places, which means a lot in terms of improving revenue.”
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