'In the lead': Reporter claims Arsenal really think they're set to beat Chelsea to £80m signing

Arsenal believe they are ahead of Chelsea in the race to sign West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice this summer.

That’s according to reporter Simon Phillips, who has been speaking to Give Me Sport about Rice’s future.

Phillips claims that Arsenal currently believe that they are ahead of Chelsea in the race for Rice.

The summer window is still a couple of months away but Arsenal are seemingly confident.

Phillips adds that Chelsea would likely turn their attention towards Southampton star Romeo Lavia if they can’t land Rice.

Lavia was a top Chelsea target last summer, just weeks after he had left Manchester City for the South Coast.

Arsenal are also looking at Lavia, and it may well be that the loser in the Rice race ends up signing the Belgian talent.

“A lot can happen in the next two months until the end of the season,” said Phillips. “That one could go either way, but Arsenal feel like they’re in the lead for that at the moment.”

“So, Chelsea might have to turn their attentions elsewhere, which will be to Lavia first and foremost,” he added.

Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Declan Rice would be major addition for Arsenal

The Gunners probably weren’t expecting to be pushing for the Premier League title this season.

Now they’re top of the league and closing in on the title, Arsenal ultimately need to think about targeting a higher calibre of player.

Rice certainly fits that mould and is the kind of talent that can help Arsenal sustain this season’s brilliance.

Whether it’s as a holder in front of the back four or as a more advanced midfielder like Granit Xhaka, Rice and be a key player for Arsenal for years to come.

The Times suggest that Rice is Arsenal’s top target in a huge £80million move this summer.

There seems to be real confidence on Arsenal’s side that they can pip Chelsea here, despite Rice’s history with the Blues.

If Arsenal really can make this signing a reality, they would be showing that this season isn’t one-off – they can challenge for a while yet.

In other news, ‘Waiting’: Collymore tells Levy to contact 51y/o manager for Tottenham

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