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Arsenal complete Declan Rice signing

Arsenal have announced the signing of midfielder Declan Rice from West Ham United for a British-record transfer fee of £100m plus £5m in add-ons.

The Gunners have been locked in talks with their cross-city rivals for almost a month, but they only recently found common ground as the official confirmation arrived on Saturday.

Rice’s blockbuster switch has seen Arsenal top Manchester City’s record acquisition of Jack Grealish in 2021, making him the most expensive English player in history.

The 24-year-old has pledged his allegiance to the Emirates Stadium until 2028 and will don the No 41 shirt, the same number he wore during his impressive West Ham career.

With 245 senior appearances for David Moyes’ side and 43 caps for England, the deep-lying midfielder comes in as a potential catalyst to help Arsenal dethrone Man City in the Premier League.

He will take Granit Xhaka’s place in Mikel Arteta’s line-up after the Switzerland international halted his seven-year stint in London to join Bayer Leverkusen earlier this month.

Rice has spent his entire playing career in London, having graduated from Chelsea’s youth academy before sealing a move to West Ham in 2017 as a prodigious talent.

He has been one of the best-performing midfielders in England’s top flight – form which earned him the club’s captaincy in May 2022.

His crowning achievement at the London Stadium was Europa Conference League success in June as UEFA named him the tournament’s Player of the Season for his eye-catching exploits.

In addition to his phenomenal club form, Rice has been an irremovable object in Gareth Southgate’s set-up, playing a prominent role in England’s 2020 European Championship and 2022 World Cup campaigns.

Arsenal were not the only club interested in luring him away from West Ham, but Rice rejected Man City’s enquiry to join forces with Arteta’s exciting cast of talented youngsters.

Rice’s signing represents a landmark for the Gunners, yet it also threatens to change the landscape of transfer dealings in England, with other clubs using his move as a benchmark to set prices for their stars.

Brighton & Hove Albion want to use the mega-money deal as an excuse to pump up Moises Caicdeo’s price tag amid Chelsea’s relentless attempts to take him to Stamford Bridge.

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