Arsenal have broken their transfer record and completed the signing of England midfielder Declan Rice from West Ham, the club announced on Saturday.
The Premier League runners-up agreed a transfer fee for Rice worth £100m ($131m) plus £5m ($6.5m) in surcharges, sources told ESPN. The amount far surpasses Arsenal’s previous record fee – the £72million paid to sign Nicolas Pepe from Lille in 2019.
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Ultimately, Rice, 24, could also become the most expensive British player in Premier League history, surpassing the £100m Manchester City paid to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa two years ago.
“Because of my relationship with West Ham, it was a bit overwhelming. [With] Given the love and support I have for her, it was really hard to walk away,” Rice said.
“There are incredible opportunities in football. Big clubs like Arsenal are out for me and it’s really hard to turn down. You only get one career and I really believe in what Mikel is building here and in the squad he is building.” “I’m really looking forward to the future with Arsenal.”
Rice’s arrival follows the signing of Germany international Kai Havertz from Chelsea for a transfer fee worth up to £67.5million, while Arsenal continue to inject firepower into the squad that unexpectedly struggled for the Premier League title last season .
Arsenal ended up falling short of eventual treble winners City’s title but prevailed in the race to sign Rice.
Sources told ESPN that City had turned down an earlier offer of £80m plus £10m in surcharges but believed Arsenal’s offer exceeded their valuation.
He will join Arsenal on their pre-season tour of the United States, with the Community Shield against City on August 6 offering his first chance for his competitive debut. Arsenal begin their 2023-24 Premier League season with hosts Nottingham Forest on August 12.
West Ham have long expected Rice, who has one year left on his contract and an option for a further year, to leave this summer after leading the club into the season Europe Conference League title last month. The club confirmed their exit on Saturday.
“Everyone at West Ham United should be very proud of the part we played in his journey from the Academy of Football at Chadwell Heath to becoming the most valuable young player in English football,” West Ham joint chairman David Sullivan said in a Explanation.
According to ESPN, Arsenal’s first two offers for Rice have been rejected, including a £75million plus £15million bid last month.
Manchester United have also been linked with Rice but failed to match West Ham’s rating.
Rice spent his entire senior career at West Ham, making his first-team debut in 2017 and being appointed captain of the club ahead of the 2022/23 season. After making his debut in 2019, Rice made 43 appearances for England.
– Rice joins the most expensive XI of all time in football
“I knew it from the moment I set foot on Chadwell Heath [training ground] that I had found another place to call home,” Rice said in one Open letter to West Ham fans.
“I look back now and realize how crucial my time at Chadwell Heath was to my development, both as a footballer and as a man.
“I want you to know how difficult it was for me to leave an environment that I loved and cherished so much. Ultimately, however, it was always about my ambition to play at the very highest level of the game.”