Rice leaves West Ham for lucrative Arsenal deal
Arsenal have signed Declan Rice on a long-term contract from West Ham United, the north London club said on Saturday, with manager Mikel Arteta describing the England international as an "exceptional talent".
Financial details of the transfer were not disclosed but British media reported that the fee for the midfielder was 105 million pounds ($NZ215 million), making it a record transfer between two British clubs.
"He is a player with tremendous ability, who has been performing at a high level in the Premier League and for England for a number of seasons now," Arteta said in a statement.
"Declan is bringing undoubted quality to the club and he is an exceptional talent who has the potential to be very successful here."
The 24-year-old's transfer fee surpasses the 100 million pounds Manchester City paid Aston Villa for England midfielder Jack Grealish in 2021.
Rice also became Arsenal's most expensive signing, eclipsing the 72 million pounds they paid Lille for Nicolas Pepe in 2019, but the fee falls short of the 107 million pounds Chelsea paid to sign Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez this year.
Rice left West Ham having guided them to the Europa Conference League title and a 14th-placed finish in the Premier League.
He was named the Europa Conference League's player of the season for his role in West Ham's victory, which earned them their first major European trophy in over half a century and first major title since the FA Cup in 1980.
"Declan has great experience in the Premier League at only 24 years old," Arteta said.
"He has captained a very good West Ham team and as we all saw, he recently lifted a European trophy. The responsibility and role he has taken on has been very impressive and we are really excited that he is joining us."
Rice began his youth career at Chelsea's academy before moving to West Ham at the age of 14, making his senior debut for the Hammers in 2015.
The midfielder, given the captain's armband after Mark Noble's retirement in 2022, played more than 240 games for West Ham, scoring 15 goals.
Rice represented Ireland at youth level but switched allegiance to England in 2019, making his debut in the same year. He has played 41 times for national side, starting all five of their matches at last year's World Cup in Qatar.
Rice's signing will strengthen manager Arteta's squad after the departure of Granit Xhaka, as Arsenal look to again challenge for the Premier League title and compete in the Champions League on their return to the tournament for the first time since the 2016-17 season.
"I've been looking at Arsenal over the last couple of seasons and the trajectory they've been going on," Rice said on Arsenal's website.
"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."
He becomes their third signing of this transfer window after Kai Havertz from Chelsea and defender Jurrien Timber from Ajax Amsterdam.
Arsenal face Premier League and FA Cup winners City in the Community Shield on August 6, before taking on Nottingham Forest in their opening league match on August 12.