Mikel Arteta identified Declan Rice as Arsenal’s top target heading into the summer transfer window, and his pursuit is now likely to prove successful.

Mikel Arteta looks set to secure the signature of his top target at Arsenal this summer, with Declan Rice edging closer to a move to the Emirates Stadium. It has been well-reported that the midfielder favoured a move to the Gunners over Manchester City, and it has now emerged that the groundwork conducted by Arteta convinced the player.

Arsenal came within touching distance of winning the Premier League title last season and they are keen to bridge the gap between themselves and City this summer with several new signings. Arteta has been at the heart of identifying top targets, with Ajax star Jurrien Timber viewed as the ideal acquisition defensively and Kai Havertz viewed as a unique option to create chances in the middle of the park.

Rice has been Arsenal’s key target throughout this summer though, and their third bid for his services – worth £105million in total – now looks likely to be accepted by West Ham if the payment terms are improved. Arteta has been key in persuading the 24-year-old that a move to North London is the best for his career.

According to London World, the Spaniard invited Rice to his house to speak about how he envisions the midfielder slotting into his team and the pair spoke at length about his plans with the club, which appeared to work a charm as the 24-year-old has been consistent in wanting to join Arsenal since.

With Granit Xhaka expected to join Bayer Leverkusen, Rice is likely to replace the Switzerland international in Arteta’s midfield three, which will see him granted more freedom to push forward than previously at West Ham.

With negotiations between the Hammers and Arsenal ongoing, there is confidence that a deal being agreed is imminent. However, if negotiations begin to slow then Rice is reportedly prepared to show his desire to leave by intervening and calling for West Ham to accept the bid, according to the Daily Mail.

The Hammers have been resigned to losing the services of the club captain since the summer transfer window opened, with owner David Sullivan going public with admitting that they had verbally agreed to facilitate his exit after several contract extension offers were

West Ham are hoping to receive the initial £100m fixed fee for Rice within the next 18 months, whereas Arsenal are looking to pay in instalments throughout the next four years, though a compromise from both parties is on the horizon.

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