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Paul Merson urges Arsenal to sign Chelsea target

Paul Merson urges Arsenal to sign Chelsea target

Paul Merson urges Arsenal to sign Chelsea target

Merson surprised Arsenal are not interested in Rice

Arsenal legend Paul Merson has urged the club to look into a move for West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice, who has recently been linked with Chelsea.

The Gunners are currently five points adrift of a potential Champions League spot and it is unclear whether they will qualify for the elite competition next season.

Regardless of this, manager Mikel Arteta is likely to rebuild the squad ahead of next season and Merson believes the club should make an approach to sign Rice from the Hammers.

"Chelsea have been linked with him, but I don't know why Arsenal aren't looking at Declan Rice. They don't need a midfielder who's going to be on the edge of the opposition box," he told Sky Sports.

"They need a disciplined defensive midfielder, who is going to sit in front of the back four and organise the side; one who, when he gets the ball, gives it simple with 10-yard passes. It's such a hard job. That's why I can't believe Arsenal aren't going in for a player like Rice."

Granit Xhaka has been tasked with the defensive midfield duties under Arteta and the Swiss has impressed with his performances in almost every game under the Spaniard's guidance.

Still, the manager may want to add more competition for places within the squad and it remains to be seen whether the club are tempted to make an approach for Rice, who has been linked with Manchester United in the past.

Rice has more than four years remaining on his existing deal with the Hammers and the east London side are in a strong position to command a sizeable transfer fee this summer.