Declan Rice has been seen picking up a signed Arsenal shirt from Martin Odegaard amid reports he could join the club from West Ham this summer window.
The England international has been strongly linked with a move to the Emirates and met up with Gunners skipper Odegaard after Sunday’s 2-2 draw.
The picture of Odegaard handing Rice a signed shirt went viral with Arsenal supporters hoping the club will secure the midfielder’s signature at the end of the campaign.
Arsenal are growing confident of signing Rice despite the interest from fellow Premier League teams Manchester United and Chelsea.
The Hammers are expected to sell Rice at the end of the season due to the fact he is unwilling to sign a new deal at the east London club.
Arsenal have made Rice their top summer target and Mikel Arteta is believed to be a ‘huge fan’ – having made plans regarding where Rice would fit in his system at the club.
The Gunners are going to have to pay a big fee to sign him, though, with the Evening Standard claiming that West Ham will use Chelsea’s £106.8m deal to sign Enzo Fernandez this year as a price guide.
Arsenal legend Paul Merson has told his old club not to overpay for Rice and believes he is worth closer to £60m.
Jack Wilshere, meanwhile, has backed the Gunners to complete a deal for Rice this summer, saying the West Ham captain would be the ‘perfect fit’.
Andy Carroll has told Rice to join Arsenal instead of Chelsea or Manchester United as he told Metro.co.uk: ‘I can’t really see Declan Rice leaving the Premier League.
‘West Ham aren’t doing great at the moment but Declan loves West Ham. I was at the club with him when he was a kid coming through – he is a great guy and a great player.
‘We all know he needs to go to a top club. I can’t see him going outside of England, but he should go to a top-three or top-two club. I’d like to see Declan at Arsenal to be honest.’