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Arsenal transfer guru Edu gets loud and clear message on priority summer signing

Arsenal fans have urged sporting director Edu Gaspar to clinch the signing of Declan Rice this summer as Mikel Arteta eyes improvements to his squad to mount another title challenge. The Gunners are thought to be one of the clubs vying for the West Ham captain’s signature as they look to sign a new midfielder and it seems he is the overwhelming favourite amongst their loyal fanbase to bolster Arteta’s options.

A poll commissioned by Express Sport asked readers to name the one player they would want to sign in the summer transfer window if given the choice. And there was no competition amongst the Gunners fanbase with Rice emerging as the overwhelming favourite to head to the Emirates Stadium.

With thousands of people giving their view, Rice gained a massive 53 per cent of the vote ahead of other potential targets such as Moises Caicedo, who only attracted 21 per cent despite the club having three bids rejected for the Ecuadorian in the January transfer window.

Reports suggest Arsenal have already made their move to inform West Ham of their interest by submitting an opening offer for Rice, who is rated at around £100m by his club, although his contract has only one year left to run.

Given that Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount was the third-highest on the list with a 10 per cent share of voter approval, it seems they are united in believing Arteta must sign a midfielder this summer.

Lesser popular choices were Everton starlet Amadou Onana on seven per cent, as Moussa Diaby, Marc Guehi and Mohamed Simakan all picked up three per cent each.

It is no surprise to see the 24-year-old attracting such interest for his signature, with Rice boasting an average passing completion of 88 per cent and over two tackles a game to highlight his effectiveness in the middle of the park.

There could be some stiff competition for his signature, however, with Rice likely to be in high demand after another stellar season with West Ham, even in spite of their domestic struggles.

Reports in Germany suggest Bayern Munich have joined the race for Rice’s signature, with Thomas Tuchel known to be a long-term admirer of Rice from his days at Chelsea head coach.

The Blues cannot be counted out if he decides to leave the Hammers, given their huge spending under Todd Boehly so far, while Liverpool and Manchester United are also reportedly keeping track of the situation.

Arteta has four central midfielders currently available to pick from in Jorginho, Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny, but Xhaka has been heavily linked with a move back to Germany with Bayer Leverkusen.

And Rice may just be the missing piece in the puzzle after Arsenal fell short at the final hurdle in the Premier League title race, with another busy summer expected for the north London club.

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