Arsenal can prove Keown wrong and damage Ten Hag’s Man Utd at the same time

Arsenal can prove Martin Keown wrong this summer by splashing out a huge fee on Declan Rice. The Gunners can also get one over their rivals Manchester United, who are likely to be pushing closer to the top spots in the Premier League next season.

Arsenal are confident of signing Rice in the summer. West Ham know they likely have to sell but are not going to make it easy for any interested party.

They will demand a fee of at least £100million and perhaps up to £120m depending on the amount of interest in the player. United are long-term admirers of Rice and are also said to be in the running.

Champions League football is not yet confirmed at Old Trafford, which could play a decisive factor in whether Rice would see them as a viable option. Erik ten Hag may also reserve a large chunk of his summer budget for signing a striker.

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But with the potential takeover from Qatari billionaire Sheikh Jassim, United could have the money to sign both. However, Arsenal could beat them to a deal having already qualified for next season’s Champions League and showed this term that they are capable of pushing Manchester City close for the Premier League title.

Signing Rice could damage United’s chances of competing for major honours next season. He would substantially improve the Arsenal midfield and also force Ten Hag into looking at alternative targets.

Arsenal would also prove Keown wrong if they did land Rice. The former defender said this week that he does not think his old club have the finances needed to pull off a deal for the 24-year-old.

Keown told talkSPORT: “I’m sure Arsenal will be interested but there’s going to be a transfer fee isn’t there and it will be enormous. West Ham will want to cash in as he runs down his contract.

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“They need to do the right business and take advantage of him. Rice has helped to keep them in the Premier League.

“I think he is going to be too expensive for Arsenal, quite frankly. I think he will be too expensive for Liverpool as well who have been in the Champions League now for a number of years.

“He’s a player Arsenal will like but not with those costs involved, I think it’s too much. Looking at Arsenal’s business, I don’t think it’s a route they will go down.

“I don’t think they’ve got the money, even though the Champions League will bring vast revenue. I don’t see him as a player Arsenal can afford to buy.”

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