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Arsenal Break Club Record with £105m Signing of Declan Rice

Arsenal Football Club has secured the services of England midfielder Declan Rice from West Ham United in a landmark deal worth £105 million.

This transfer fee surpasses Arsenal’s previous record signing of Nicolas Pepe from Lille in 2019, valued at £72 million, and also sets a new record for the highest transfer fee ever paid between two British clubs.

However, Rice’s transfer falls just short of the British record, with Chelsea having paid £106.8 million for midfielder Enzo Fernandez from Benfica in January. Nonetheless, Arsenal has successfully secured the talented 24-year-old for a five-year contract, set to expire in 2028, with the option to extend for an additional year. Rice will proudly wear the No. 41 shirt for his new club.

This move to the Emirates Stadium marks the end of Rice’s impressive ten-year tenure at West Ham, during which he rose from a youth-team player to eventually become the club captain. Making his first-team debut in 2017, Rice went on to make 245 appearances for the Hammers. His final match saw him lift West Ham’s first trophy in 43 years when they emerged victorious in the Europa Conference League final.

With the acquisition of Rice, Arsenal’s summer spending reaches an impressive £208 million, following their previous signings of Kai Havertz from Chelsea for £65 million and Jurrien Timber from Ajax for £38 million.

The breakdown of the £105 million deal reveals an initial payment of £100 million, which will be distributed over a span of 24 months, with an additional £5 million in performance-based add-ons. These add-ons include £1 million each time Arsenal qualifies for the UEFA Champions League and when Rice starts 60% of the team’s matches.

Expressing his excitement about joining Arsenal, Rice spoke highly of manager Mikel Arteta and the club’s vision. He emphasized his belief in the project Arteta is building and his eagerness to contribute to Arsenal’s resurgence.

Rice acknowledged the young and energetic squad, the passion of the fans, and the challenge of restoring Arsenal to their rightful place among the elite clubs.

In response to Rice’s arrival, Arteta praised the midfielder’s exceptional talent, citing his impressive performances in both the Premier League and for the England national team. The Arsenal manager also commended Rice’s leadership qualities, as evidenced by his captaincy at West Ham and recent success in winning a European trophy.

Edu, Arsenal’s sporting director, echoed Arteta’s sentiments, highlighting Rice’s outstanding abilities and his proven track record at the club and international levels. Edu emphasized the strategic importance of recruiting young, talented players to strengthen the squad and expressed his delight at Rice’s integration into the team ahead of the upcoming season.

West Ham United confirmed Rice’s departure without explicitly mentioning Arsenal in their official statement. It was a mutual decision between the clubs and Rice himself to respect his former club by omitting any reference to Arsenal until the transfer was officially announced.

Rice also penned an open letter to West Ham fans, expressing his ambition to play at the highest level as the driving force behind his difficult decision to leave.

It is worth noting that Arsenal’s qualification for the Champions League, having finished as runners-up to Premier League champions Manchester City, played a crucial role in securing Rice’s services. Notably, Arsenal succeeded with their third bid for Rice after Manchester City’s £90 million offer had been rejected by West Ham.

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