Jack Wilshere will help Mikel Arteta lure Declan Rice to Arsenal

Arsenal have a ‘secret agent’ who can help them lure Declan Rice to the club. Reports claim Jack Wilshere could influence his old West Ham team-mate’s next move.

Arsenal are targeting a summer move for Rice. The England star is out of contract at the London Stadium at the end of next season.

West Ham have the option to extend that by another year but a decision will soon have to be made over his future. Chelsea have a long-standing interest in Rice after releasing him at the age of 14.

Manchester United are also admirers. But Wilshere could be able to help the Gunners seal a deal.

Wilshere played alongside Rice during his two years at West Ham between 2018 and 2020. The pair built a friendship and the Mail claims that could prove to be pivotal.

Wilshere is back at Arsenal, working as the club’s under-18 coach, after retiring from playing last year. The 31-year-old could influence the next step in Rice’s career.

The report says Chelsea’s chances of signing Rice will be damaged if they miss out on Champions League qualification this season. Graham Potter’s side are 10th in the Premier League, 14 points off the top four.

Winning the Champions League may be their best route into qualifying for the competition next season. But they must overturn a 1-0 deficit against Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of the last-16 tie first.

United also remain interested in signing Rice, but Arsenal are said to be in pole position. Any extra influence from the likes of Wilshere is only going to help the Gunners’ chances.

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Wilshere previously made his feelings clear on Rice last year. He labelled the 24-year-old as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.

Wilshere tweeted: “Tell me a better DMF [defensive midfielder] than Declan Rice right now? Can’t think of anyone [who] can do what Dec can…”

He dismissed claims Liverpool’s Firmino was better than Rice. He wrote: “Doesn’t have the presence Dec has. Dec can do everything and more.”

Wilshere also compared Rice to Sergio Busquets in his prime and revealed his wish that he would join Arsenal. He wrote: “Busquets is the only one 3 or 4 years ago. And remember he played in a team that dominated possession in every game.

“Dec’s job is harder in this team. He could play in any team in Europe. Fact. Let’s hope it’s Arsenal.”

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