Arsenal’s Rice move may come at a cost as West Ham eye deal for Smith Rowe

Arsenal’s move for Declan Rice could come at a cost for Mikel Arteta. Reports claim West Ham are keen on signing Emile Smith Rowe as a sweetener in the deal that could see their captain head to the Emirates.

'It's a waste of time if he goes to Arsenal' — West Ham fans on Declan Rice

Rice is the top target for Arsenal this summer. The Gunners have been confident of pulling off a deal for the England international for several months.

Express Sport understands Arsenal are set to make an opening offer of around £90m, with West Ham eyeing around £100m to let him go. Hammers chairman David Sullivan confirmed on Thursday that Rice will be allowed to leave in this window.

Arsenal aren’t the only team interested, with Manchester United and Bayern Munich joining them in the race. But they could have a key to unlocking a deal.

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The Sun claims West Ham are keen on signing Smith Rowe. The 22-year-old has been one of the forgotten men of Mikel Arteta’s squad this season.

He didn’t start a single match in all competitions after missing the first half of the campaign following groin surgery. He was unable to get back into Arteta’s side as they attempted to chase their first Premier League title since 2004.

The report says Arsenal are keen on keeping Smith Rowe despite his lack of action. However, West Ham boss David Moyes is a big fan of the England international.

West Ham will be in the Europa League next season after winning the Europa Conference League on Wednesday. Moyes is keen to strengthen his squad while knowing he is almost certain to lose Rice.

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Arsenal’s desperation to sign Rice may mean they have to give in and allow Smith Rowe to leave. Smith Rowe still has three years remaining on his contract in north London, so could attract a sizable fee.

Arteta is keen to keep Smith Rowe, along with many of his squad players, following his side’s qualification for the Champions League. The Spaniard admitted last month he wants more to get more out of those on the fringes.

Arteta said: “First of all, be critical with ourselves, first with myself. My job is to get the best out of 24 players that we have available and I haven’t been able to do that. There are still players who have great potential and we haven’t been able to do that.

“There are different reasons, whether it’s injuries, whether it’s game time, whether I haven’t had the opportunity or we I haven’t been able to play them enough. We have to look for those margins because we have those margins and our job is to make them better.”

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