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Declan Rice leaves West Ham for record UK transfer fee, likely to join Arsenal

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West Ham did not reveal the team Rice would join or the fee in a statement accompanied by a message from the player to West Ham fans, saying it was a “difficult” decision driven by his “ambition to play at the very beginning”. the highest level of the game.” “Playing in the opposing team at West Ham for the first time will be an unusual experience,” said the 24-year-old Rice.

West Ham announced the departure of Declan Rice on Saturday for what the club said was a record British transfer fee. Arsenal was the likely destination for the England midfielder.

West Ham did not reveal the team Rice would join or the fee in a statement accompanied by a message from the player to West Ham fans, saying it was a “difficult” decision driven by his “ambition to play at the very beginning”. the highest level of the game.” “Playing in the opposing team at West Ham for the first time will be an unusual experience,” said the 24-year-old Rice.

“I don’t know exactly how I will feel just yet, but I also know that you will all understand and respect that my professional loyalty must now rest with my new club.” Arsenal would pay an initial fee of 100 million pounds ($131 million) for Rice, who spent nine years with West Ham. It is also likely that there are additional fees.

The initial fee reported is the same as the British record sum Manchester City paid Aston Villa for Jack Grealish in 2021.

Another England midfielder, Jude Bellingham, has joined Real Madrid from Borussia Dortmund this offseason in a deal that could reach over $139m.

It would be a statement signed by Arsenal after a season that saw the club narrowly miss out on the Premier League title but re-establish themselves as a force in England under Mikel Arteta.

Rice will effectively replace Granit Xhaka in Arsenal’s midfield options, with the Swiss international joining from Bayer Leverkusen last week.

Rice can play as a midfield presenter or as a box-to-box player, giving Arteta some versatility as Arsenal look to build on their second-place finish in the league last season. Only a late-season collapse prevented Arsenal from winning their first league title since 2004.

Arsenal will also play in the Champions League the coming season for the first time since 2017.

It’s a sign of the progress Arsenal have made under Arteta that the club can attract a sought-after player like Rice, and for such a high price.

The London club also signed German striker Kai Havertz from Chelsea on Friday in a deal worth £65m and Dutch defender Jurrien Timber from Ajax for an initial £40m. euros.

Rice’s last game for West Ham was their victory over Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final in June, after which it became clear the defensive midfielder would be leaving the side he joined. academy in 2014 from Chelsea.

“This club and its supporters will always be in my heart and will forever be a part of who I am,” Rice said.

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