Declan Rice has finally completed his £105 million move from West Ham United to <a href="https://www.thenationalnews.com/tags/arsenal/" target="_blank">Arsenal</a>. The England midfielder had been the subject of two previous bids by the Gunners – and one by treble winners <a href="https://www.thenationalnews.com/tags/manchester-city/" target="_blank">Manchester City</a> – that were all turned down by West Ham. But Arsenal made Rice, 24, their key target of the summer and returned with a third and final offer of £100 million, plus a further £5 million in add-ons, that was accepted. The deal beats Arsenal's previous record transfer – £72 million forked out to Lille for Nicolas Pepe in 2019 – and moves Rice ahead of Three Lions teammate Jack Grealish (who moved <a href="https://www.thenationalnews.com/sport/football/2021/08/05/manchester-city-sign-aston-villas-jack-grealish-for-british-record-fee/" target="_blank">from Aston Villa to Manchester City for £100 million in 2021</a>) as the most expensive English player of all time. Speaking to the Arsenal website following the confirmation of his move, Rice said he was determined to take his game to another level with the Gunners. "In football, amazing opportunities arise. Big clubs, like Arsenal, have come for me and it's really hard to turn down," Rice said. "You only ever get one career and I really believe in what [manager] Mikel [Arteta] is building here and the squad he's building. I'm really looking forward to the future with Arsenal. "With Mikel and how he works, the squad, how young everyone is, the energy around the club and also the challenge of getting Arsenal back to where they belong, that means a lot to me." He becomes Arsenal's third signing of the summer after German forward <a href="https://www.thenationalnews.com/sport/football/2023/06/29/kai-havertz-excited-to-join-arsenal-family-after-completing-65m-move-from-chelsea/" target="_blank">Kai Havertz's £65 million move across London</a> from rivals Chelsea as they look to improve on last year's second-place finish behind champions Manchester City, despite topping the table for much of the campaign. On Friday, the Gunners completed a £34 million deal for 22-year-old Ajax central defender Jurrien Timber, with a further £4 million payable in add-ons for the Dutch international. “He is a player with tremendous ability, who has been performing at a high level in the Premier League and for England for a number of seasons now,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said in a statement. Rice joined West Ham at youth level in 2015, making his senior debut after coming on as a late substitute against Burnley on the final day of the 2016/17 season. He would become a first-team regular the following campaign and would go on to make 245 appearances for the Hammers, scoring 15 goals, winning the club's player of the year award three times and taking over as captain at the start of the 2022/23 season after Mark Noble's retirement. Rice was at the heart of the West Ham team that finished sixth and then seventh in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 Premier League campaigns, although last season turned into a struggle against relegation before they eventually finished 14th, six points clear of the bottom three. He helped them reach the Europa League semi-finals in 2022 when they <a href="https://www.thenationalnews.com/sport/football/2022/05/06/eintracht-frankfurt-vs-west-ham-player-ratings-tuta-9-borre-8-cresswell-3-rice-7/" target="_blank">lost to eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt</a> but then captained West Ham to their first trophy in more than 40 years last month, when they defeated <a href="https://www.thenationalnews.com/sport/football/2023/06/08/fiorentina-v-west-ham-europa-conference-league-final-ratings-amrabat-8-bowen-9/">Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final</a>. In an open letter to West Ham fans, Rice said the club “will always be in my heart” but that it was his ambition “to play at the very highest level of the game”. “I want you to know how tough a decision it has been for me to leave an environment that I have loved and cherished so much,” he added. West Ham joint-chairman David Sullivan said that he would “personally thank Declan for everything he has done” for the club and was sad to see him leave. “I would like to make it clear to our supporters that we did not want to sell Declan. We wanted to build our team around him and made a series of improved, long-term contract offers to secure his future,” said Sullivan in a statement. “However, once Declan made it clear that he wished to move on and seek a new challenge, the club felt it would not be right to stand in his way, acting in the best interests of West Ham United.” Although born in south-west London, Rice was eligible to play for Ireland due to his Cork grandparents and was part of the Irish youth set-up from Under-16 level through to the Under-21s before committing his future to England. He is now one of the first names on manager Gareth Southgate's teamsheet, having made 43 caps since making his senior debut as a 63rd-minute substitute against the Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium in 2019. He played all seven games <a href="https://www.thenationalnews.com/sport/2021/07/11/old-warriors-leo-bonucci-and-giorgio-chiellini-lead-italy-to-euro-2020-win-over-england/" target="_blank">as England finished as runners-up having lost to Italy on penalties in the Euro 2020 finals</a> and then started all five games at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar when they reached quarter-finals, before being <a href="https://www.thenationalnews.com/fifa-world-cup-2022/2022/12/10/harry-kane-misses-penalty-as-england-crash-out-of-world-cup-against-champions-france/" target="_blank">beaten 2-1 by France</a>.