Former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder Emmanuel Petit has advised West Ham United captain Declan Rice to join the Gunners despite interest from the Blues.
Rice, who has entered the final 18 months of his contract with West Ham, is widely expected to leave the Irons in the summer. Chelsea are long-term admirers of the player, but face competition from Arsenal.
It recently emerged that the Gunners are growing optimistic about acquiring the midfielder’s services ahead of the 2023-24 season. There are also claims that the player himself prefers a move to the Emirates Stadium.
Rice was on the Blues’ books for eight years between 2006 and 2014 as a young boy. He has often been linked with a return to the club since rising to prominence at West Ham, with a reunion with childhood friend Mason Mount mooted.
However, it appears Arsenal’s resurgence under Mikel Arteta has changed the England international’s mind. It now remains to be seen if the north London giants can get a deal for him across the line in the summer.
Meanwhile, Petit, who plied his trade for both Arsenal and Chelsea as a player, has weighed in on Rice’s future. The Frenchman believes the West Ham star should opt for a move to the Emirates Stadium. He said on beIN Sports:
“Declan if you’re listening, my message is very simple. If you want to improve – you’re already a great player – and win silverware, you have to come Arsenal! I’m sorry to West Ham fans, but I think there is no choice for him but to come here [the Emirates Stadium].”
West Ham are keen to tie Rice down to a new deal at the London Stadium but have failed in their efforts so far. The midfielder has turned down three offers from the Hammers, according to The Athletic.
Apart from Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United have also been credited with an interest in the 24-year-old. However, Arteta’s side appear to be in the driving seat to sign him as things stand.
How has Arsenal and Chelsea target Rice fared for West Ham
Rice has been on West Ham‘s books since joining them from the Blues for free at the age of 14. The Englishman has since gone on to become a key player for the London-based club.
The defensive midfielder has made 221 appearances across all competitions for the Irons. He found the back of the net 11 times and provided 12 assists for his teammates in those matches, while also being named their captain in 2022.