Ghana international Thomas Partey could leave Arsenal this summer – with Gunners boss Mikel Arteta keen to sign West Ham’s £100million-rated midfielder Declan Rice

Arsenal are ready to make a THIRD bid for Declan Rice – and then carry on spending with a move for Romeo Lavia.

‌Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is facing a desperate battle to beat Manchester City to sign Rice and could be forced to go up to £100million to get their man. City have yet to table a firm offer but their interest has turned up the pressure on Arsenal but even as they try to get their No1 target over the line, they are ready to spend big elsewhere.

‌Arsenal have agreed a £65m deal for Chelsea star Kai Havertz and will also bid £40m for Southampton midfielder Lavia. That is likely to end Arsenal’s interest in Brighton’s Moises Caicedo, who is wanted by Chelsea, but Arteta sees Lavia as a younger option and cheaper deal as well as having huge potential.

‌Lavia would be seen as a replacement for Thomas Partey who, Mirror Football revealed was attracting interest from Italy and now Saudi Arabia as well.

Arsenal have more than £180m to spend this summer and are determined to get major reinforcements but that figure could go even higher if they sell players.

‌They could cash in on Partey, Bayer Leverkusen have agreed a deal to sign Grant Xhaka and the likes of Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney could go. Arsenal also want Ajax’s versatile defender Jurrien Timber but Rice has always been their No1.

City are now weighing up a bid after losing Ilkay Gundogan to Barcelona on a free transfer. That could be attractive to West Ham who want a bidding war but Arsenal have put in a lot of ground work on Rice and believe he wants to come – so it would be a massive blow to lose him.

Arteta has a vision of where Rice should play in his midfield, sees him as a leader and believes he has convinced the West Ham captain to come to the Emirates.

West Ham chairman David Sullivan confirmed Rice will be allowed to leave the London Stadium after their 2-1 victory against Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final earlier this month. Yet the Hammers have already rejected two bids from the Gunners.

The 24-year-old was in favour of a move to the Emirates, but Arsenal still need to match West Ham’s asking price – or get closer to it – if they want to beat City to his signature.

Speaking to talkSPORT, Sullivan said: “We promised him he could go. He set his heart on going. You can’t ask for a man who has committed more to us this season. In due course, he has to get on and we have to get a replacement – or several replacements.

“It’s not something we want to happen. We offered him £200,000-a-week 18 months ago. He turned it down. It’s cost him £10million to stay at West Ham in that time (in lost wages). And he wants to go. You can’t keep a player who doesn’t want to be there.”


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