Arsenal to fund Rice and Caicedo transfers with ruthless cull of four stars

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reviews the Brighton game

Arsenal reportedly plan to fund a £170million double swoop for Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo by completing a ruthless cull of four first-team stars. Reports suggest that Granit Xhaka, Emile Smith Rowe, Rob Holding and Folarin Balogun could all be sold to raise money for Mikel Arteta’s two top targets.

Arteta and director of football Edu are expected to strengthen Arsenal’s midfield during the summer transfer window. A lack of depth in the position was a key reason why they were unable to maintain control in the Premier League title race. 

West Ham captain Rice is a key target ahead of the summer, with the England midfielder’s contract expiring in 12 months. Arsenal are also expected to revisit their interest in Brighton star Caicedo after having a January bid rejected. 

The Gunners will supposedly place four stars on the transfer list to fund the moves. Fans’ favourites Xhaka and Smith Rowe are reportedly two players who could be moved on. Defender Rob Holding and academy graduate Balogun, who has excelled on loan at Reims, make up the four-man transfer list. 

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According to The Times, all four could make way to fund what is likely to be a £170m double swoop for Rice and Caicedo. The report adds that Arteta is set to be backed with a £200m budget after Arsenal sealed Champions League qualification for the first time since 2016, although that could depend on outgoings. 

The potential departures of Xhaka and Smith Rowe are likely to upset Arsenal fans. The once-maligned Xhaka has won over the Emirates Stadium faithful in recent seasons and the Swiss’s experience has been key to their Premier League title challenge this term. 

Smith Rowe is a graduate of the Arsenal academy but after a fine 2021-22 campaign, the 22-year-old has struggled for regular football. Injuries, the form of Gabriel Martinelli and the arrival of Leandro Trossard have all kept Smith Rowe out of the team. 

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Meanwhile, centre-back Holding struggled for form when he replaced the injured William Saliba in the starting 11 towards the end of the campaign. The Englishman has since lost his place in Arteta’s preferred team, with January signing Jakub Kiwior taking his place. 

Arsenal are also expected to take advantage of the interest in prolific loanee Balogun. The England U21 forward has scored 20 goals on loan at Ligue 1 side Reims this term, attracting the attention of several Premier League clubs. 

Arteta’s side are reportedly set to be one of the biggest spenders when the transfer window opens fully at the start of July. The Spaniard is keen to maintain momentum from this season’s shock Premier League title push, and knows a stronger squad will have a better chance of toppling Manchester City. 

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