The 24-year-old was strongly linked with a move away from the Hammers last year, but the midfielder eventually stayed at the London Stadium. He has continued to play a vital role for the team during the current 2022-23 season, scoring twice and providing four assists in 34 appearances under the management of David Moyes.
Although West Ham United can extend Rice’s contract until June 2025, there is a growing sense that they may reluctantly sell their captain during the upcoming transfer market.
Several top clubs, including Manchester United, Manchester City, Newcastle United and Chelsea have reportedly shown interest in the England international, and Arsenal’s interest have also increased in recent months.
According to the Evening Standard, the Gunners are confident that they are the front-runners to secure Rice’s signature ahead of next season.
The Premier League leaders consider Rice their primary transfer target this summer, and the club’s owners are willing to approve a deal that could amount to approximately £100m.
West Ham’s sporting director Mark Noble recently acknowledged that Rice would probably leave the club soon to fulfil his desire to play in the Champions League.
While Arsenal’s qualification for the Champions League next season is not yet confirmed mathematically, they currently sit 22 points ahead of fifth-placed Newcastle United and eight points clear of second-placed Manchester City in the Premier League table.
West Ham United have struggled in the Premier League this season, only securing 24 points from 26 matches, leaving them in 18th place as they head into the next set of fixtures.