The Gunners are just an announcement away from confirming Declan Rice as their most expensive player ever as one of his prospective teammates prepares for action.
Declan Rice has sent a message to Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe and the rest of the England Under-21s side ahead of their European Championship final against Spain on Saturday.
Lee Carsley’s squad have progressed through the tournament in Romania and Georgia with ease, winning all five matches so far without conceding a goal. Their hugely talented squad includes Premier League stars Levi Colwill, Noni Madueke, Harvey Elliot, Jacob Ramsey and Smith Rowe.
Having had troubles at major tournaments in recent years, the Under-21s side are now just one game away from glory and are hoping to go one step further than the senior side did in 2021 when they lost to Italy on penalties in the final at Wembley.
Rice himself never played for England’s junior age group sides, instead representing Ireland until his debut for the senior Three Lions side in 2019. He has since gone on to make 43 caps for his country and has cemented himself in Gareth Southgate’s side as an experienced member of the squad.
The deal between the sides has now been all but confirmed since last week and an announcement of his departure from the Hammers is expected to come imminently as Arsenal prepare for their pre-season tour of America later this month. Meanwhile, Smith Rowe will be hopeful of forcing his way into Mikel Arteta’s thoughts as well after a struggle of a season through injury.
Now, on the eve of the final, Rice has written to the young England side on social media, posting on his Instagram story: “Come on boys!! Good luck [red heart emoji, fingers crossed emoji] @England.”
The 24-year-old reposted England’s own image which reads: “An opportunity for our #YoungLions to make history!” Smith Rowe is included in the graphic for the game with Anthony Gordon, Madueke, Morgan Gibbs-White, Curtis Jones and Taylor Harwood-Bellis all included on the image as well.
Rice and Smith Rowe will team up together for the Gunners in Arteta’s team for the 2023/24 season and will be hopeful of having something to celebrate when they do so.