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15th Jul 2023

Declan Rice joins Arsenal in record £105m deal from West Ham

Steve Hopkins

Rice said the decision came down to his ‘ambition to play at the very highest level of the game’

Declan Rice has joined Arsenal in a record £105m deal.

The transfer is made up of a £100m initial fee plus £5m in performance-related add-ons and is the highest amount an English club has paid for an English player.

Jack Grealish held the previous Premier League record after Manchester City bought him from Aston Villa in 2021 for £100m.

West Ham rejected two club-record bids for Rice, Sky News reported. One for £90m, and a starting bid thought to be worth £80m plus add-ons.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta gathered the squad at the team’s training centre to welcome Rice, who led West Ham to a Europa Conference League trophy, “to the family”.

The 24-year-old bid farewell to his former club on Saturday morning, describing the move as “tough”.

He said the decision came down to his “ambition to play at the very highest level of the game”.

The midfielder said: “The last few days and weeks have been an absolute whirlwind of emotion, but it is important to me that I have the opportunity to say goodbye and reflect on what has been such a special and memorable part of my life.

“When I travelled all the way from my home in southwest London to Essex for a trial with West Ham at the age of 14, not really knowing what to expect, or whether it was a good idea to consider the possibility of playing for a club miles away from my family and where I had grown up.

“However, I knew from the very first moment I walked into Chadwell Heath that I had found another place I could call home.”

In a statement on Arsenal’s website, Rice says: “I’ve been looking at Arsenal over the last couple of seasons and the trajectory they’ve been going on.

“Not last season but the season before, they finished fifth but you could see the style of play Mikel was implementing. Last season was an outstanding season, blowing pretty much every team out of the water with the exception of Man City.

“With Mikel and how he works, the squad, how young everyone is, the energy around the club and also the challenge of getting Arsenal back to where they belong, that means a lot to me. I know the fans really want that. For me as a player, I’ve come here really hungry to have more success and to spend my best years at this great club.”

West Ham thanked Rice for his service to the club and the “memories” he left behind.

The England star’s statement said: “The loyal, passionate, devoted, at times hilarious, and always honest Hammers, who are massive everywhere you go…!

“You have taken me into your hearts as one of your own from day one. Even when it was just a handful of fans at the Under-18 or Under-23 games, I felt that love, and it has just grown stronger as the years have passed.”

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Declan Rice