David Ornstein makes claim about Arsenal and Chelsea target Declan Rice
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David Ornstein makes claim about Arsenal and Chelsea target Declan Rice

The Athletic’s David Ornstein believes there could be another huge transfer battle between Arsenal and Chelsea in the summer, this time for the signing of Declan Rice.

The two London clubs locked horns on more than just one deal last month.

Mykhaylo Mudryk was the one who made the most headlines. Arsenal were pushing to sign him for weeks, only for Chelsea to swoop in and lure him away in the end. The two sides also attempted to sign Moises Caicedo from Brighton, but the Ecuador international ended up staying at the Amex.

Up next, it could be Rice.

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David Ornstein expects an Arsenal-Chelsea transfer battle for Declan Rice

Arsenal signed Jorginho on transfer deadline day, while Chelsea managed to seal a club-record deal to bring in Enzo Fernandez from Benfica.

However, Mikel Arteta and Graham Potter are both still expected to be in the market to sign a new defensive midfielder before the start of next season.

Declan Rice is a player who has been heavily linked with a move to both sides. Reports have even revealed that he’s Arsenal’s priority target for the summer.

Ornstein has now claimed that other clubs could well be in the mix for the Englishman, but as things stand, it is set to be another big battle between Arsenal and Chelsea.

Speaking about Rice on The Athletic Football Podcast, Ornstein said: “We need to keep an eye on other clubs like Manchester United, who have often been linked with Declan Rice.

“But also, who will be the ownership at the time and are they still in the market to bolster their midfield in a way that we’ve been led to believe in recent years because they’ve been short of top midfield options until the arrival of Casemiro.

“Manchester City – I don’t sense that they’re strong on Declan Rice. But, if Ilkay Gundogan leaves, then clearly there is a need.

“It’s just the sense you get, which can of course change, maybe it’s an Arsenal-Chelsea toss-up for Declan Rice, as things stand. The Jorginho deal very much means a high-profile, high-level number six is going to be on the agenda for Arsenal as things stand.”

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His value has come down

Just last summer, West Ham made it clear to everyone that Rice would cost an outrageous fee. The Englishman’s price was said to be in excess of £100 million, but that figure will come down.

Rice will enter the final year of his contract at West Ham at the end of this season, and Ornstein expects him to be available for a bit less than £100 million.

The journalist revealed he has been informed by people in the industry that Rice can be signed this summer for a fee between £75 million and £85 million.

That’s still more than what Arsenal paid for their record-signing Nicolas Pepe, but they should have no problem affording that figure, especially if they win the title this season.

Photo by GLYN KIRK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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