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Arsenal may need favour from one of their academy players in £120m Declan Rice transfer

Arsenal may need favour from one of their academy players in £120m Declan Rice transfer

According to reports, Arsenal are said to be prepared to pursue the signing of Declan Rice, the current captain of West Ham United, once the season concludes. However, in order to facilitate a more seamless transition for the 24-year-old in north London, the Gunners may need assistance from one of Mikel Arteta’s talented young players.

As per Sky Sports, Arsenal is set to make a bid for their top midfield transfer target once the current season concludes. West Ham manager David Moyes is reportedly open to his captain’s departure.

However, the transfer will be subject to the right financial terms, as West Ham is expected to demand a fee of £120 million. This could be in the form of a direct transfer fee or involve player exchanges.


There are indications that Rice has reached an agreement with his childhood club to finally complete a highly anticipated high-value transfer this summer.

If Rice does join Arsenal, it is likely that he would prefer to retain his beloved No. 41 jersey.

In February 2022, he told The Overlap: “It was just a number I was given by the kit man, Jamo, in the academy.

“So when you’re in the U23s, you’ve obviously got the first-team squad numbers, and then it gets to higher numbers when you’re in the U23s. And I was given 41.

“I remember when I went to Seattle. It was my first trip with the first team; I’d just got given the 41, and, you know what, it’s stayed with me ever since.

“To be honest with you, I’ve been having this conversation with my dad regardless of what happens in my career. I think I might stay with the 41. I don’t know [whether I’ll change].

“I just think Rice 41 has a nice ring to it, and obviously, I’ve grown up playing in it. I’m a bit superstitious about things like that.

“I don’t know if I change to a new number, it would hamper my performances. I don’t know! I just think about a couple of things like that sometimes.”

Nevertheless, in recent matches, the number assigned to teenage midfielder Mauro Bandeira in Mikel Arteta’s matchday squads has been the same number that Declan Rice typically wears.

Mauro Bandeira was included on the bench during Arsenal’s Europa League match against Sporting Club in March, as well as in the recent game against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground, where Arsenal’s hopes of winning the title were dashed in a 1-0 defeat.

Given that two of Mikel Arteta’s key starting players, Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes, currently wear the alternative numbers to Declan Rice’s preferred No. 41, it is reasonable to assume that Rice’s desire to retain the No. 41 shirt would be even stronger.

“Not a seven! Either four or six. I think that’s the standard number,” the England international told Gary Neville when asked what traditional numbers he’d opt for.

If Declan Rice were to join Arsenal in a transfer deal that sets a new club record, it can be assumed that he would have the option to take the No. 41 shirt from Mauro Bandeira if he desires it.

This would likely hold true regardless of whether Bandeira makes his debut on the final day of the season or not.

Arsenal may need favour from one of their academy players in £120m Declan Rice transfer

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