Arsenal have broken their transfer record to complete the signing of England midfielder Declan Rice from West Ham, the club announced on Saturday.
The Premier League runners-up have agreed a fee of 100 million pounds ($131 million) plus 5 million pounds ($6.5 million) in add-ons for Rice, sources told ESPN. The sum surpasses Arsenal’s previous record fee — £72m paid for the signing Nicolas Pepe From Lille in 2019.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (US)
When all is said and done, the 24-year-old Rice could become the most expensive British player in Premier League history, surpassing the £100m Manchester City paid to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa two years ago.
“It’s a bit overwhelming because of my relationship with West Ham. (With) the love and support I have for them, it’s very difficult to avoid,” Rice said.
“In football, amazing opportunities arise. Big clubs like Arsenal have come for me and it’s hard to turn down. You only ever get one career and I really believe in what Michael is building here and the squad he’s building. I’m looking forward to the future with Arsenal.
Rice’s arrival follows the signing of Germany international Kei Havertz from Chelsea for up to £67.5m as Arsenal continue to add firepower to the side that mounted an impromptu Premier League title challenge last season.
Arsenal came out on top in the race to sign Rice despite losing out to eventual treble winners City.
City had previously rejected an offer of £80m plus £10m in add-ons, sources told ESPN, but believed Arsenal’s bid exceeded their value.
He will join Arsenal on their pre-season tour of America in the Community Shield against City on August 6. Arsenal open their 2023-24 Premier League campaign by hosting Nottingham Forest on August 12.
West Ham had long hoped to let Rhys leave this summer with a year remaining on his contract and an option for another year after leading the club to the Europa Conference League title last month. Earlier on Saturday, the club had confirmed his dismissal.
West Ham joint chairman David Sullivan said in a statement: “Everyone at West Ham United should be proud of the part we played in his journey from the football academy at Chadwell Heath to becoming one of the most valuable young players in English football.
Arsenal had two offers rejected for Rhys, sources told ESPN, last month for £75m plus £15m in add-ons.
Manchester United were also linked with Rhys, but were unable to match West Ham’s valuation.
Rice spent his entire senior career at West Ham, making his first-team debut in 2017 and being named club captain ahead of the 2022–23 season. After making his debut in 2019, Rice played 43 matches for England.
– Rice joins football’s most expensive XI of all time
“From the first moment I walked onto Chadwell Heath (the training ground) I knew I had found another place I could call home,” Rice said. An open letter to West Ham fans.
“I look back now on how crucial my time at Chadwell Heath was in shaping me as a footballer and as a person. … I found the perfect place to build my confidence, my focus, determination and ambition to flourish.
“I want you to know how hard it was to leave an environment that I loved and loved so much. Ultimately, it was just about my ambition to play at the highest level of the game. .”