William Gallas says potential signing of star would have a ‘big impact’ on ’s future at the club.
Arsenal are , with Mikel Arteta determined to bolster his midfield options.
Earlier in the year Arsenal were believed to be the frontrunners to sign Rice but the Gunners could yet face fierce competition from the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, who are also admirers of the England star.
Gallas ‘really likes’ Rice – who West Ham value at more than £100m – but says Arsenal will ‘need to sell a midfielder’ if they strike a deal with their east London rivals.
Thomas Partey has been one of Arsenal’s most important players this season – playing 32 of the club’s 37 league games – but Gallas has suggested the Ghana international could be scarified if Rice arrives through the doors at the Emirates Stadium.
‘I really like Declan Rice,’ former Gunners captain Gallas told . ‘I like the player a lot.
‘What is certain with West Ham is that their players will be available at the right price.
‘I think the signing of Rice would have a big impact on Thomas Partey and his future with the club.
‘Rice can play in a number of different roles in the midfield. He can play as the sitting midfielder; he can play further up or on either side of a midfield three.
‘He is a very good player that I think will reach another level if he joins a top club and that is why I think he will leave West Ham this summer.
‘Arsenal will need to sell a midfielder because they can’t have that many at the club and also sign Rice. I know that there will be a lot of additional games with the Champions League, but they will need to sell one of them.
‘Arsenal will want to make a statement signing. Okay, Rice is on the market, but I think their more urgent need is to sign top class defenders.’
Partey has made 98 appearances for Arsenal since joining from Atletico Madrid in 2020.
While the 29-year-old has featured heavily for Arsenal this season, it has been .
But Arsenal – who will finish second in the Premier League after sitting top for 248 days this season – are already braced for the exit of captain Granit Xhaka, who is set to return to Germany.
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