Transfer Gossip: Arsenal go big for England ace whose blockbuster exit is assured; ‘attractive’ Man Utd transfer could hinge on Sancho

England trio Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden Credit: Alamy
England trio Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden Credit: Alamy

Arsenal have made an England starter who’s destined to leave his current club their primary target for the summer, while an ‘attractive’ Man Utd move could hinge on the status of Jadon Sancho – both in Tuesday’s Transfer Gossip.

ARSENAL TO FORM UNBEATABLE MIDFIELD PAIRING?

The Gunners are determined to sign West Ham and England ace Declan Rice in the summer and why they’re ‘growing in confidence’ they can sink Chelsea in the race has been revealed.

The 24-year-old is firmly established as one of the Premier League’s finest midfielders. He was named the club captain following Mark Noble’s retirement at the end of last season, though that’s unlikely to prevent him from leaving next summer.

Indeed, the Athletic previously reported West Ham have ‘conceded internally’ they will lose Rice to a bigger club at season’s end.

His current contract expires in 2024, though he’s already rejected three offers to extend his stay. As such, the coming summer represents the ideal time for the Hammers to cash in.

Rice has made no secret of his desire to play Champions League football and a return to Chelsea has long been touted. Rice was on the Blues’ books between 2006-14 and is close friends with Mason Mount.

However, per the Times, Arsenal are growing increasingly confident they can secure Rice’s signature.

Rice unlikely to cost what West Ham quoted

It’s claimed the England ace has been installed as the club’s ‘top target’ for the summer and would cost in the region of £80m. That’s below the nine-figure sums West Ham have publicly quoted in the past and the reduced fee is representative of his contract situation.

Arsenal look certainties to have Champions League football at the Emirates for the first time since 2017 next year. Furthermore, the report adds their status as table-toppers – and potential EPL winners – puts them in pole position for the player.

Manchester United may well enter the race, though may be hamstrung by their geographical location. Indeed, a stay within London has been mooted for when Rice does eventually leave West Ham.

If the Gunners were able to land Rice, opposition attacks would be faced with the unenviable task of bypassing a Rice-Partey partnership.

Thomas Partey has arguably been the league’s best holding midfielder this term and that pairing would give opposing playmakers nightmares.

Of course, Granit Xhaka would have a thing or two to say about being displaced in the eleven.

MAN UTD MOVE COULD HINGE ON SANCHO

A ‘more attractive’ suitor has emerged as a contender to sign a Man Utd forward whose future could hinge on Jadon Sancho, per a report.

The Red Devils settled on Wout Weghorst as the man to replace Cristiano Ronaldo in the squad. With the budget at Old Trafford tight this month, that may well be their final addition.

However, exits have not been ruled out and thee first-teamers have reportedly been told they’re free to find new clubs.

Another star who could be on the move is 20-year-old Anthony Elanga. The winger has suitors in Bournemouth and Everton, but per talkSPORT, has a much higher profile club now chasing his signature.

They report German giant Borussia Dortmund like what they see and are mulling a winter window loan swoop. Fabrizio Romano later described the links as ‘concrete’.

Dortmund are understood to be a far more ‘attractive’ proposition for Elanga who is deemed ‘open’ to the move.

Elanga has five league starts to his name this season but has been marginalised following Alejandro Garnacho’s breakthrough.

The final decision will rest with United who are competing on four fronts this year. talkSPORT add the call could depend on whether United add a new winger this month, or if they’re able to bring Jadon Sancho back into the fold.

The £73m signing hasn’t played for United since late-October amid concerns over his fitness, mental wellbeing and application.

Sancho missed the club’s warm-weather training camp during the World Cup and was instead placed on an individual training program in the Netherlands.

The 22-year-old was stated by Ten Hag to be struggling both “physically and mentally”, and no timeline has been placed on his return to action.

Thankfully, he was pictured smiling at Old Trafford during United’s 2-1 derby victory over on Saturday. In the event Sancho is on the comeback trail, Elanga may be allowed to leave for Dortmund.

BRIGHTON CHASING LEEDS STRIKER TARGET

Brighton have contacted New York City FC over a move for clinical frontman Valentin Castellanos, and a move could pave the way for Leandro Trossard to depart.

Castellanos, 24, was heavily linked with Leeds Utd over the summer, though was ultimately given his first taste of European football elsewhere when loaned to Spanish side Girona.

The Argentine operated at around one goal in two in New York but has found the going tougher at Girona. Nevertheless, he does have five LaLiga goals to his name thus far.

Now, the Independent report Castellanos has become a target for Brighton who could be on the cusp of losing Trossard. The Belgian has been offered to Arsenal and is also on Tottenham’s radar.

NYCFC and Girona are both part of the overarching City Group and it’s claimed the latter would be reluctant to part ways with their striker.

That won’t stop Brighton from trying, however, and it’s suggested any Seagulls move would be a permanent one, not another loan.

READ MORE: The biggest signings of the the January transfer window so far

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